Ortho Evra (contraceptive patch)

Ortho Evra is a contraceptive patch for women that contains the hormones estrogen and progestin. To use Ortho Evra, you apply the small patch to your skin once a week for three weeks. On the fourth week, you don't use a patch — which allows menstruation to occur.

Ortho Evra works similarly to combination birth control pills. Ortho Evra prevents pregnancy by releasing hormones into your bloodstream that suppress ovulation, keeping your ovaries from releasing an egg. Ortho Evra also thickens cervical mucus to keep sperm from reaching the egg.

Ortho Evra is the only contraceptive patch that's approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. To use Ortho Evra, you'll need a prescription from your health care provider.

Ortho Evra doesn't offer protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).


Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect

Ortho Evra is used to prevent pregnancy. Ortho Evra has some advantages over other types of birth control:

  • It eliminates the need to interrupt sex for contraception or seek partner compliance
  • It doesn't require daily attention
  • It provides a steady dose of hormones
  • It can be removed at any time, allowing for a quick return to fertility

Ortho Evra isn't appropriate for everyone, however. Your health care provider may recommend against using Ortho Evra if you:

  • Are age 35 or older and smoke
  • Have chest pain or a history of heart attack, stroke or severe high blood pressure
  • Have a history of blood clots
  • Have a history of breast, uterine or liver cancer
  • Weigh more than 198 pounds (90 kilograms)
  • Have liver disease, migraines with aura, or diabetes-related complications of the kidneys, eyes, nerves or blood vessels
  • Have unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Developed yellowing of the whites of the eyes or of the skin (jaundice) during pregnancy or previous use of hormonal contraceptives
  • Are about to be immobilized for a prolonged period due to major surgery
  • Are sensitive to any components of Ortho Evra

In addition, tell your health care provider if you:

  • Are breast-feeding or recently gave birth, had a miscarriage or an abortion
  • Have breast lumps, fibrocystic disease, an abnormal mammogram or a family history of breast cancer
  • Have epilepsy, diabetes, or gallbladder, liver, heart or kidney disease
  • Have high cholesterol or triglycerides
  • Have irregular periods
  • Have depression
  • Have skin conditions, such as psoriasis or eczema
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