Health Services

The Birth Control Patch

EphNotes

The world’s first birth control patch is now awaiting government approval, but preliminary research shows that it’s just as safe and effective as the Pill, and a whole lot easier to remember. A trial among 1,417 U.S. and Canadian women showed that the patch could be more effective than the Pill in the long run because women were more likely to comply with the prescribed usage for the patch. The patch testers showed 88 percent compliance, compared with 78 percent of women taking the Pill.

The patch is about the size of a book of matches and delivers steady low doses of estrogen and progestin, which prevent ovulation. There are three patches — one for each week of your cycle — that are worn on the abdomen or buttocks. Menstruation occurs during the fourth week. Side effects in the testers were about the same as those associated with the Pill. The only exception: a few cases of skin irritation around the patch, or where it became detached. The patch has been approved by the FDA and should be in pharmacies within the next 6 months.

According to Ortho Evra, the makers of the birth control patch, the patch is paper-thin and skin soft and can be worn on the buttocks, upper arm, abdomen, or back. It can be worn during everyday activities including showering, swimming, and exercising. The patch is only available by prescription.

Information provided by BE Magazine and Ortho Evra. For more information from Ortho Evra, call 1-866-663-2476 or see their website, www.orthoevra.com.

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