UT Teen Health Health

The Patch

The Patch


typical use


(CDC, 2016)


The patch is a thin, beige piece of plastic that looks like a square Band-Aid. It's a little less than two inches across.  The patch is applied to the skin and releases hormones that prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg. The hormones also thicken cervical mucus, which helps to block sperm from getting to the egg, and thins the lining of the uterus, which may prevent implantation.  Ortho Evra® is the medical name, but most people just call it the patch.

Quick Facts!

Easy to use, works like the pill, changed once a week.


The patch is really effective when it's changed on time each week.

Side effects

Nausea, irregular bleeding, sore breasts are the most common.  In rare cases blood clots or stroke.  See below for more information.


The patch needs to be changed once a week.

How do I get it?

The patch requires a prescription from a doctor or clinic.


$0 - $55 per month.

STI reduction


More about the patch

STI reduction


Less effort than the pill

It only needs to be changed once a week.

You should weigh less than 198 pounds

The patch is less effective if you weigh more than 198 pounds.

Smokers over 35, beware

If you’re over 35, smoking while using the patch increases your risk of certain side effects. And if you’re younger, why not quit now and save yourself the trouble?

The Patch costs about $55 per month without insurance.  


  • With Medicaid: Free or a small co-pay
  • With insurance: Usually the cost of the co-pay
  • Without insurance: $55 (clinic)

The patch is simple to use.  A new patch is applied once a week to the skin of the butt, stomach, upper outer arm, or upper torso for three weeks.  Then no patch is applied for the fourth week.

Bleeding in between periods, sore breasts, headaches, nausea and vomiting, mood swings, decreased sex drive, irritation at the patch site and for a small number of women blood clots, or stroke.  For smokers, the risk of cardiovascular problems is much higher.