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Contraceptive Patch


What's the contraceptive patch?

It's a thin, beige, sticky patch measuring 5cm x 5cm. It contains the same hormones as the combined pill: oestrogen and progestogen.

How does it work?

It delivers a constant daily dose of hormones into the bloodstream through the skin. It works like the combined pill to stop the ovaries releasing an egg every month.

How effective is the patch and how is it used?

When used according to instructions it's more than 99 per cent effective. Research shows it's less effective in women weighing 90kg and over.

The patch lasts for seven days and is used for three weeks out of every four.

  • When applied on the first day of your period it provides immediate protection from pregnancy.

  • The next two patches are applied on day 8 and day 15 of the cycle.

  • After three weeks you have a patch-free week and during this time you get a bleed. A new patch is applied after seven patch-free days and the process starts again.

The patch is very sticky and should stay on during bathing, swimming, saunas or exercise. If it does come off, reapply it as soon as possible.

  • If it's been off for less than 24 hours, just reapply or use a new one.

  • If it's been off for longer than 24 hours, use an additional method of contraception for the next seven days.


  • You only have to remember to replace the patch once a week.

  • It's highly effective when used correctly.

  • It doesn't interfere with sex and is easy to use.

  • As the hormones go straight into the bloodstream, the effectiveness of the patch isn't affected by vomiting or diarrhea.


  • It's visible.

  • It may cause skin irritation in a small number of women.

  • Like the Pill, temporary side effects when you first start may include headaches, nausea, breast tenderness, mood changes, bleeding between periods and weight gain or loss.

  • More serious side effects would be similar to those seen with the Pill.

Can anyone use the patch?

The patch won't suit everyone. Reasons not to use it include:

  • you think you might be pregnant

  • you smoke and are 35 or older

You also shouldn't use it if you have now, or have had in the past:

  • blood clots in any vein or artery

  • circulatory disease or heart abnormality

  • diabetes or severe migraine

  • breast cancer

  • active liver or gall bladder disease

General comments

The patch can be worn anywhere except the breasts or any area that's sore or irritated.
Some prescription drugs or complementary medicines can affect the way the patch works.

Where to get it

Your GP or Gynaecologist can provide you with a script for the Evra contraceptive patch. DISA Health Care has a Family Planning clinic and can provide you with more information

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