Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Birth Control: How to Use the Patch
skin (transdermal) patch is a highly effective method of
birth control when it is used exactly as directed. The
patch failure rate is the same as that of birth control pills.
Talk to your doctor about what day
to start using the patch. It is usually recommended that the first patch be
placed on the first day of your next menstrual period. If the patch is started
on any other day, use a backup method of birth control for 7 days. Start the patch on a
day that is easy to remember.
The patch can be applied to your
lower abdomen, buttocks, or upper body but not on the breasts. Apply a new
patch once a week on the same day of the week for 3 weeks. The patch delivers
the hormones daily over 7 days. Wear each patch continuously until you replace
it the following week. No patch is worn during the fourth week, so you have a
A small number of women have reported that the
patch has partially or completely come off. If this happens before your patch
is due to be changed, apply a replacement patch right away.
small number of women have some mild to moderate skin irritation from the
When you remove a patch, dispose of it carefully. Because
of environmental concerns about hormones in the water supply, don't flush it
down the toilet.
May 3, 2012
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Genesis HealthCare System | 1-800-322-4762