Info Center

What is the birth control patch?

Ortho Evra is the brand name for the birth control patch or “the Patch.” The Patch is a thin, beige, smooth patch that looks like an oversized Band-Aid. It releases hormones through the skin to stop a female from releasing eggs (or ovulating). The hormones are similar to those found in birth control pills (estrogen and progesterone).

A girl places the Patch on her upper shoulder, buttocks, abdomen or upper arm and leaves it in place for one week. After one week, she takes it off and replaces it with a new one. This same cycle happens for three weeks. During the fourth week, she removes the Patch so that bleeding similar to a period can take place. On the following week, she applies a new Patch, and the cycle repeats.

When used perfectly, the Patch is more than 99-percent effective at preventing pregnancy. The Patch does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), so a backup method, such as a male or female condom, should be used.

Like the Pill, there can be side effects associated with the Patch. Most girls will have lighter, more regular bleeding and less cramping. Some girls will experience some skin irritation where the Patch is applied. They might also experience nausea, breast tenderness or headaches. And the Patch might not be effective for girls who weigh more than 198 pounds.

The Patch is ideal for girls who want regular bleeding each month, have heavy or long periods, bad cramps or for those who will find it easier to remember to change patches every week than take a pill every day. It is not ideal for girls who don’t want the patch to be noticed by others.

The Patch requires a prescription, just like any other hormonal method of birth control. The cost of the Patch varies, depending on where the prescription is filled. Usually family planning clinics, like Planned Parenthood, are less expensive than a private doctor’s office. Insurance may also cover the cost.

Chat software by BoldChat