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The Patch (Ortho Evra)

Background

A thin patch that adheres to the skin and functions like the pill and vaginal ring - that is, it gives off estrogen and progesterone and inhibits ovulation.  Click  to view the Ortho Evra Web page.

How to use

  • Place a patch on arm, buttocks, stomach, or upper torso
  • Use a new patch each week for 3 weeks
  • After 3 weeks, wait for a week before putting on a new patch. Menstruation should occur during this week.
  • Apply all new patches on the same day of the week as was done in previous cycles
  • When finished with a patch, fold it in half and place in a plastic bag before disposing in the trash

Advantages

  • Controls the menstrual cycle
  • Reduces likelihood of endometrial or ovarian cancer
  • Reduces menstrual cramps
  • Reduces acne
  • Reduces iron deficiency anemia
  • Reduces bone thinning

Disadvantages

  • Offers no protection from STIs
  • May lead to spotting between periods
  • May increase breast tenderness
  • May cause nausea or vomiting
  • May change sexual desire
  • May take 1-2 months after discontinuing the patch for a woman's menstrual cycle to return to its normal (pre-patch) regularity
  • Slightly increases risk of stroke, hypertension, jaundice
  • Women who use the Ortho Evra patch may be more than twice as likely to suffer serious blood clots as women who are using birth control pills (FDA package warning)

Effectiveness

When used as directed, only one out of 100 women became pregnant within the first year of use in clinical trials.

Availability

  • Need prescription from a Health Care Provider (Primary Care physician, OB/GYN, W&L Student Health Center)
  • Cost: $15 - $50 per month