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What is the birth control patch?

A birth control patch is a small adhesive patch which may be worn to prevent pregnancy. It releases the same medications as birth control pills, intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implantable birth control devices. It is usually replaced once a week with a new patch. There are many birth control options, which should be discussed with a healthcare provider.

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

The birth control patch (Ortho Evra) is a hormonal form of birth control. The patch contains 2 types of hormones: about 150 mcg of a progestin called norelgestromin and 20 mcg of a type of estrogen called ethinyl estradiol. These hormones are absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream.

A new patch is used every week for 3 weeks, then no patch for a week. During that week without a patch, a woman has withdrawal bleeding that is similar to having a menstrual period. You can put the patch on your upper arm, upper back, lower abdomen or buttock. The patch is applied once a week, for 3 weeks every month. There are no daily requirements for you or your partner, no pills to keep track of and most women find that it does not interfere with sex.

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition or find a doctor. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.