Family PACT

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All about the Contraceptive Patch

The Contraceptive Patch is a small patch that you put on
your skin once a week to keep from getting pregnant.

Each Patch lasts for 7 days. The woman takes the old Patch off and
puts a new Patch on a different part of her body. She does this for 3
weeks in a row. After 7 days without a Patch, she starts a new box
of Patches.

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Contraceptive Patch This is what the patch looks like

How does the Patch work?

The Patch has two kinds of hormones (estrogen and progestin)
like the ones made in a woman’s body. These hormones
are taken in through the skin and go into the blood stream.
They keep the woman’s eggs from leaving her ovaries.

How well does it work?

About 9 women out of 100 who use the Patch for a
year get pregnant.

The Patch may not work as well for women who
weigh more than 200 pounds. Ask your Family PACT
provider for advice.

What do women like about using it?

  • It does not interrupt having sex. 
  • It is easy to use.
  • Patch stays on in the shower, bath, with exercise,
    even with swimming.
  • It is easy to check if it is there.
  • It is good if you have trouble taking pills.
  • It is good for women who want a period every

What do some women dislike?

  • You must remember to change the Patch every
  • It may leave stickiness on the skin that you can
    take off with baby oil.
  • It can be seen on your skin.
  • There are side effects such as spotting
    between periods.

Woman and Patch  The patch can be worn on the arm, back, shoulder, hips or abdomen.

How do I get the Patch?

You must go to a health care provider. You
should tell your provider about:

  • Any health problems you have.
  • Any medicine you are taking.

Your Family PACT provider can help you
decide if the Patch is right for you.

How do I use the Patch?

Start using your Patch the day your health care provider
suggests. For example, put it on the Sunday after you
start your period.

Put each Patch on a different part of your body.

  • You can put it on your hips, upper arms, back, or
  • Do not use on your breasts or underarms.

For just the first 7 days, use another method, like
condoms,  every time you have sex.

The Patch works best if the level of hormones stays
the same in your body.  Change your Patch the same
day each week. Ask your Family PACT provider to
show you how to put the Patch on.

Week 1:

  • Be sure your skin is clean and dry.
  • Put the Patch on with care.
  • Press down on the Patch for 10 seconds.
  • Make sure the edges of the Patch are sticking
  • Keep the Patch on for 7 days.

Week 2 and Week 3:

  • After 7 days, take the Patch off.  Fold it in half
    and throw it in a trashcan.
  • Put a new Patch on a different part of your body.
  • Change it on the same day of the week each

Week 4:

  • Take the Patch off. Do not put a new Patch on.
  • Wait 7 days. You will get your period during this
  • Then start again with Week 1.

What about the side effects?

Some side effects of the Patch are:

  • Skin rash or redness where the Patch is
  • Nausea or breast tenderness
  • Changes in your period, or spotting and
    bleeding between periods
  • Headaches

If any of these side effects bother you, talk to
your Family PACT provider.

  • Rare but serious complications are blood
    clots in the legs or lungs.

The Patch may not be safe for some

Talk to your Family PACT provider about any
health problems you may have.
For example, if you:

  • Are over 35 years old and smoke
  • Have had blood clots in your legs or lungs
  • Have had a heart attack or stroke
  • Have high blood pressure or diabetes
  • Have had breast cancer

Ask if the Patch is safe for you to use.

Watch for these warning signs.

With the Patch, you may get a higher dose of
estrogen than you would with the pill. Tell your
Family PACT provider right away if you have:

  • Sudden headaches
  • Eye problems (blurry vision)
  • Sharp, sudden pain in the leg, chest, or

The Contraceptive Patch does not
protect you from HIV (the virus that
causes AIDS) and other infections
people get from having sex.

Use condoms (for men or women) along with the
Patch to protect yourself from these infections. 

 © 2007, Department of Health Care Services, Office of Family Planning. All rights reserved. Revised 2013.                                                                              
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