Othro Evra – commonly known as “The Patch” – is the first weekly birth control method. It contains the same hormones as the Pill, but you only need to remember it once a week, instead of every day.
The Patch is worn on your arm, upper torso (not the breasts), abdomen, or buttocks. You apply a new one once a week for three weeks, and it must be worn continuously for seven days. You get your period on the fourth week, when you are not wearing one.
Contrary to what you might think, you can wear it while swimming or in the shower.
Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, the company that produces The Patch, has conducted extensive tests. According to their website, “More than 70,000 birth control patches have been clinically tested worldwide in more than 3,300 women to date.”
The Patch works in the same way as The Pill. It prevents ovulation from occurring, which means the ovary does not release an egg that can be fertilized.
According to the National Women’s Health Information Center, the Patch is “99% effective at preventing pregnancy, but appears to be less effective in women who weigh more than 198 pounds.”
The Patch provides NO PROTECTION against any sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
The FDA approved The Patch in 2001, and currently there is no generic version available. It can only be prescribed by a physician, and many insurance companies consider it a “top tier” medication (which means little, if any, of the cost is covered because there is no generic version).
* You only have to remember it once a week instead of every day, which means you don’t have to think about it as often.
* The hormones go directly into your bloodstream, bypassing the stomach, which means less nausea for some users.
* It is easy to use, and simple to stop if you do decide to become pregnant.
* Although my Patch never fell off, it did tend to wrinkle as I wore it, which made me paranoid about it falling off.
* It can irritate the skin, and it does leave a “band-aid” mark after you remove it.
* Remembering something weekly may not be easier for some people.
* The cost can be prohibitive, depending on your insurance plan.
* It is still possible to contract a sexually transmitted disease while using The Patch.
* There is a whole list of conditions on the official website’s FAQ section detailing who shouldn’t use The Patch. (click on the link in upper right corner of this page to read the full text of the website)
This is the first in a series of articles that will explore the ways in which the child free community can make sure they stay that way!