Easy to use, does not require daily reminders.


The patch releases a daily dose of hormones through the skin into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancy.

It contains the same hormones as the combined pill – oestrogen and progestogen – and works in the same way by preventing the release of an egg each month (ovulation).

It also thickens cervical mucus, which makes it more difficult for sperm to move through the cervix, and thins the womb lining so a fertilised egg is less likely to be able to implant itself.

  • When used correctly, the patch is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
  • Each patch lasts for 1 week. You change the patch every week for 3 weeks, then have a week off without a patch.
  • You don’t need to think about it every day, and it’s still effective if you’re sick (vomit) or have diarrhoea.
  • You can wear it in the bath, when swimming and while playing sports.
  • If you have heavy or painful periods, the patch can help.
  • The patch can raise your blood pressure, and some women get temporary side effects, such as headaches.
  • Rarely, some women develop a blood clot when using the patch.
  • The patch may protect against ovarian, womb and bowel cancer.
  • It may not be suitable for women who smoke and who are 35 or over, or who weigh 90kg (14 stone) or more.
  • The patch does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so you may need to use condoms as well.

How To Use

Apply your first patch and wear it for 7 days. On day 8, change the patch to a new one. Change it like this every week for 3 weeks, and then have a patch-free week.

During your patch-free week you’ll get a withdrawal bleed, like a period, although this may not always happen.

After 7 patch-free days, apply a new patch and start the 4-week cycle again. Start your new cycle even if you’re still bleeding.

Where to put the patch

Stick the patch directly onto your skin. You can put it onto most areas of your body, as long as the skin is clean, dry and not very hairy. You shouldn’t stick the patch onto:

  • sore or irritated skin
  • an area where it may get rubbed off by tight clothing
  • your breasts

It’s a good idea to change the position of each new patch to help reduce the chance of skin irritation.

Side Effects

  • Spotting or bleeding between periods
  • Nausea, stomach pain
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headache
  • Skin irritation

Other Contraceptive Options