The new Ortho Evra birth control patch is a highly effective, weekly hormonal patch that is worn on the skin to prevent pregnancy. It’s worn continuously for one week and replaced on the same day of the week for three consecutive weeks, with the fourth week “patch-free.” You can expect your menstrual period to begin a few days after removing the third patch (during the patch-free week). Ortho Evra is 99 percent effective when used correctly. It prevents pregnancy the same way as birth control pills and has been found to be equally as effective in clinical studies.

Ortho Evra is a very thin, beige smooth patch that measures 1 3/4 inches on each of its four sides. It consists of three layers. The hormones are embedded in the adhesive layer and are slowly released when the patch is applied to the skin. Women who choose to use the patch should apply it to the abdomen, buttocks, upper torso (front and back, excluding the breasts) or upper outer arm. You should not place Ortho Evra on skin that’s red, irritated or cut. And to ensure effectiveness, you should not place the patch on areas of your skin where make-up, lotions, creams, powders or other products are or will be applied. Ortho Evra remains attached and effective even when you bathe, swim, exercise, or wear it in humid conditions.

More than 70,000 birth control patches have been clinically tested worldwide in more than 3,300 women to date. The patch seemed to be less effective in women weighing more than 198 pounds. Most side effects are not serious, and those that are serious occur infrequently. Some women experience breast symptoms, headache, application site reaction, nausea, upper respiratory infection, menstrual cramps and abdominal pain. Serious risks, which can be life threatening, include blood clots, stroke or heart attacks and are increased if you smoke cigarettes. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular side effects, especially if you are over 35. Women who use hormonal contraceptives are strongly advised not to smoke. Some women should not use the patch, including women who have blood clots, certain cancers, a history of heart attack or stroke, as well as those who are or may be pregnant. Ortho Evra does not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted infections.

Ortho Evra is now available by prescription. It is being offered at University Health Services. The cost is comparable to a one-month supply of birth control pills.

For more info check out: or call 1-877-EVRA-888.


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