Hormonal Contraceptive Patch

What is it?

Contraceptive patch is a hormonal form of birth control. A hormonal contraceptive patch 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 backup 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 healthcare provider.

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 is it?

The patch is 92% effective with typical use.  

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 very effective at preventing pregnancy
  • It only needs to be remembered once a week
  • It does not interrupt sexual activity

Reasons someone might not choose this method of birth control

  • The patch only comes in a pale beige colour, which does not match many 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

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