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How Effective Is the Birth Control Patch?

The birth control patch is approximately 91% effective. When it’s used correctly, the patch can be even more effective.

Understanding Effectiveness

The 91% effectiveness statistic is based on typical use of the birth control patch. That means that out of 100 women who use this method each year, about nine may get pregnant. The birth control patch’s effectiveness at preventing pregnancy is 99% with perfect use, so the more you know about how to use it, the better.

How to Use the Patch Correctly

Birth control patches like Xulane are applied once per week for three weeks. On the fourth week, you don’t wear a patch and you get your period.

It’s important to be diligent about sticking to a schedule when you use the patch for birth control. Here are the key tips you need to know to use the patch correctly:

  • Place your patch in one of the approved areas: upper outer arm, abdomen, buttock, or back.
  • Always apply your new patch on the same day each week.
  • Make sure your skin is completely clean and dry before putting on a new patch.
  • Don’t touch the sticky side while applying the patch.
  • Press the patch onto your skin firmly to fully adhere it.
  • Check daily to see if your patch is still in place.
  • If you apply a patch late, use a backup method of birth control, such as condoms.
  • If your patch comes loose or falls off, put on a new patch as soon as possible. Use a backup method of birth control if the patch has been off for more than 24 hours.

Medication Interactions

Some medications could make the birth control patch less effective, including:

  • Barbiturates
  • Aprepitant
  • Griseofulvin
  • Bosentan
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Certain combinations of HIV medicines
  • Certain seizure medications

Always tell your healthcare provider about what types of meds and supplements you’re taking before you get a prescription for the patch.

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