What is it?

The contraceptive patch is a small sticky patch that releases hormones into your body through your skin to prevent pregnancy. In the UK, the patch's brand name is Evra. When used correctly, the patch is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
Each patch lasts for a week. You change the patch every week for three weeks, then have a week off without a patch.

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).

To compare contraception methods and what will work best for you, use the Contraception Choices Tool

You may not be suitable for the patch if:

  • you're pregnant or think you may be pregnant

  • you're breastfeeding a baby less than 6 weeks old

  • you smoke and are 35 or over

  • you're 35 or over and stopped smoking less than a year ago

  • you're very overweight

  • you're taking certain medicines, such as some antibiotics, St John's Wort, or medicines used to treat epilepsy, tuberculosis (TB) or HIV

  • It's very easy to use and doesn't interrupt sex

  • It is extremely effective at preventing pregnancy (99% when used correctly)

  • It can make your periods less heavy and painful and reduce PMS symptoms

  • You only have to remember to replace the patch once a week

  • the hormones from the patch aren't absorbed by the stomach, so it still works if you vomit or have diarrhoea

  • It may reduce the risk of ovarian, womb and bowel cancer.

  • It may reduce the risk of fibroids, ovarian cysts and non-cancerous breast disease.

  • It may be visible

  • It does not protect against STI’s 

  • It can cause itchiness, soreness or skin irritation 

  • You may experience side effects such as headaches, sickness (nausea), breast tenderness and mood changes when first starting the patch 

  • Bleeding between periods and spotting is common in the first few cycles of using the patch.

  • The patch may slightly increase your chance of developing a blood clot

Make an appointment at one of our clinics to speak with a nurse or clinician to talk through your options and best suitable method of contraception for you.