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Is the CONTRACEPTIVE PATCH the right method for you ?

Basics about the CONTRACEPTIVE PATCH (Ortho Evra®)

  • The CONTRACEPTIVE PATCH works mainly by keeping the woman’s egg from leaving her ovaries.
  • It is a weekly hormonal birth control patch that is worn on the skin to prevent pregnancy.
  • It delivers continuous levels of norelgestromin and ethinyl estradiol through the skin and into the bloodstream.

Couples might LIKE the CONTRACEPTIVE PATCH because:

  • It does not interrupt having sex.
  • There are no pills to take every day.
  • It needs to be changed ONLY once a week for three weeks in a row, then it is removed for one week "patch-free”

Couples might DISLIKE the CONTRACEPTIVE PATCH because:

  • Offers no protection against transmission of STIs/STDs and HIV/AIDS
  • May not be the right option for women who want total privacy with their birth control decision since it must be worn

How well does the patch work?

The Ortho Evra birth control patch is 99% effective when used correctly.

How does the contraceptive patch compare with the effectiveness of other forms of birth control?

Women out of 100 that got pregnant using the methods below

Abstinence No women
Depo Provera Shots 1 out of 100
Sterilization 1 out of 100
Contraceptive Patch 1 out of 100
IUD 2 out of 100
Vaginal Ring 2 out of 100
The Pill 3 out of 100
Male Condom 12 out of 100
Spermicide 16-21 out of 100
Diaphragm 18 out of 100
NFP/FAM 20 out of 100
Female Condom 21 out of 100
No Method 85 out of 100
How does it work?

Ortho Evra prevents pregnancy the same way as birth control pills. It works primarily by preventing ovulation. It also causes changes to the cervical mucus and the endometrium.

The patch is worn for one week and replaced on the same day of the week for three consecutive weeks, with thefourth week patch-free.Your doctor will advise you which way will be best for you to start the patch. Ortho Evra uses a 28-day, or four-week cycle. You should apply a new patch on the same day of the week for three consecutive weeks, for a total of 21 days. You should not apply a patch during the fourth week. Your menstrual period should start during this “patch free” week. Every new patch should be applied on the same day of each week. This will be your “Patch Change Day.” For example, if you apply your first patch on a Monday, all your patches should be applied an a Monday. You should only wear one birth control patch at a time. The birth control patch may be worn on the buttocks, abdomen, upper torso (front and back, excluding the breasts) or upper outer arm.To apply the patch open the foil pouch by tearing it along the top edge and one side edge. Peel the foil pouch apart and open it flat. You will see that a layer of clear plastic covers the patch. It is important to remove the patch and the plastic together from the foil pouch. Using your fingernail, lift one corner of the patch and the plastic off the foil liner. Peel away half of the clear plastic and be careful not to touch the exposed sticky surface of the patch with your fingers. Apply the sticky side of the patch to the skin you have cleaned and dried, then remove the other half of the clear plastic. Press firmly on the patch with the palm of your hand for 10 seconds, making sure the edges stick well. Run your fingers around the edge of the patch to make sure it is sticking properly. Check your patch everyday to make sure all the edges are sticking. To remove your used patch, simply lift one corner and quickly peel back. Carefully fold the used patch in half so that it sticks to itself before throwing it away. You can expect your menstrual period to begin a few days after removing the third birth control patch (during the patch free week). Remember to apply your new patch to a new area of skin that is clean, dry, and free of lotions, oils, and creams.

Possible side effects:

  • Breast symptoms
  • Headache
  • Skin irritation at the application site
  • Upper respiratory illness
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Abdominal cramps

Serious risks, which can be life threatening, (these risks are increased if you smoke) include:

  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Heart attacks
Signs there might be a problem:

You should go to your nearest hospital emergency room if you experience any of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Severe pain or tenderness in the stomach area
  • Sharp chest pain, coughing of blood, or sudden shortness of breath
  • Crushing chest pain or tightness in the chest
  • Sudden severe headache or vomiting, dizziness or fainting
  • Sudden partial or complete loss of vision
  • Pain in the calf
  • Breast lumps
  • Severe problems with sleeping, weakness, lack of energy, fatigue, or change in mood
  • Jaundice or yellowing of the skin or eyeballs
Department of Public Health
Family Planning
3900 Sherman Way - Suite J - Riverside, CA 92503
(951)358-5192 or Email: