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The Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch

What's the Birth Control Patch?

Ortho Evra is a tiny skin patch with the same hormones as those in many birth control pills. Women can wear this patch on the buttocks, abdomen, upper torso (except for the breasts), or the outer part of the upper arm. It should not be placed on skin that is red, irritated, or cut, or skin where makeup, creams, or powders are applied.


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How Does the Birth Control Patch Work?

A new birth control patch is worn for one week and then replaced on the same day of the week for three consecutive weeks. The fourth week is a patch-free week. This is when you should have your period.

Women should only wear one patch at a time.

The contraceptive patch prevents pregnancy by delivering a continuous amount of two hormones, estrogen and progestin, through the skin and into the bloodstream.

How Effective Is the Birth Control Patch?

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

Are There Side Effects of the Birth Control Patch?

There are a few possible side effects of the birth control patch that might include:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Headache
  • Rash or redness at the site of the patch
  • Nausea
  • Menstrual cramps

Who Shouldn't Get the Birth Control Patch?

Some women should not get the Ortho Evra birth control patch. They include:

  • Women with blood clots, a history of heart attack or stroke
  • Smokers over age 35
  • Women with certain cancers, such as breast cancer
  • Women who are pregnant or think they might be pregnant
  • Women with migraines should consult their doctor.


Does the Birth Control Patch Protect Against Sexually Transmitted Diseases?

No. The birth control patch does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). The male condom provides the best protection from most STDs.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH on August 11, 2014

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