Transdermal Patch*

How does it work?

  • Patch is 4 cm square of polyester containing the female hormones estrogen and progestin
  • Hormones are absorbed through the skin
  • Stops the ovary from releasing an egg (ovulation)
  • Thickens the cervical mucus and makes it more difficult for the sperm to travel into the uterus
  • Changes the lining of the uterus and makes it difficult for the egg to attach to the wall of the uterus
  • A new patch is placed on the skin every week for 3 weeks
  • On week 4 you do not wear a patch


  • 92-99.7% effective
  • May reduce the risk of some cancers of the reproductive system
  • Menstrual periods may be shorter in length and lighter in flow with less cramping
  • Regulates periods
  • Can be taken by healthy, non-smoking women of any age
  • Wear the same patch for 7 days in a row
  • Not swallowed so there is less chance of stomach upset.
  • May improve acne
  • Easily reversible
  • Allows for unplanned sex


  • No protection against STIs, including HIV
  • May be less effective for women who weigh more than 198 lbs (90 kg)
  • Possible skin irritation where the patch is placed
  • Must remember to change the patch as directed for it to work
  • Some side effects (breast tenderness, stomach upset, bleeding between periods, headaches)
  • Small chance of the patch becoming loose or falling off
  • Women with certain conditions may not be able to use the patch due to increased risk of a blood clot (for example, smokers over the ages of 35 years, high blood pressure)