Hormonal Contraception Patch
What is it?
The contraceptive patch is a hormonal form of birth control. It looks like a square bandage or nicotine patch. It is thin, beige and sticks to your skin. It releases two hormones into your bloodstream through your skin to prevent pregnancy: estrogen and progestin.
How do you use it?
Each pack of contraceptive patches contains three patches. This is enough to last a month. The patch can be put on four areas of the body: buttocks (bum), lower abdomen, upper arm, or upper torso (excluding breasts). To use the patch:
- Weeks 1, 2 and 3: wear one new patch each week
- Week 4: do not wear a patch, this is the week your period should start. You are still protected from pregnancy as long as you wore your patch correctly, and start your new one on time.
- At the end of week 4 put on a new patch and begin a new cycle
If the patch starts to peel off, it will not work properly. Remove the patch and replace it with a new one. Use a back-up method of contraception for the next week.
Where can you get it?
The hormonal contraceptive patch is available from most pharmacies with a prescription from a doctor.
How much does it cost?
A month’s worth of patches costs approximately $30 at most pharmacies. The Sexual Health Centre at 179 Clarence Street also provides the contraceptive patch at the discounted rate of $10.
How effective it is?
The patch is 92% effective with typical use. However, if you weigh more than 90 kg (198 lbs) the patch can be less effective. Talk to a doctor or pharmacist if you are concerned about this.
Does it reduce the risk of STIs?
No. The hormonal contraceptive patch does not reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections.
Reasons someone might choose this method of birth control
- It is easy to use
- It is very effective at preventing pregnancy
- It only needs to be remembered once a week
Reasons someone might not choose this method of birth control
- The patch only comes in a pale beige colour, which does not match all skin tones
- The glue that helps the patch stick can irritate your skin
- You cannot or do not want to use a hormonal method of birth control