The patch (brand name: Xulane®) is a thin, beige piece of plastic that looks like a square Band-Aid that you change every week. How it works: You stick the patch on your skin and it gives off hormones that prevent ovaries from releasing eggs. The hormones also thicken cervical mucus, which helps to block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place.
Lasts 1 Week
› No STI Protection
The patch does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV (if left untreated, can cause AIDS). You should use a condom each time you have sex to prevent STIs.
› Less effort than the pill
If you’re the kind of person who would have trouble remembering to take a pill every day, the patch might be a good option. But you need to remember to do something once a week. Your healthcare provider will remind you of this, but remember to place the patch on different parts of the body (here) each week to make sure it’s working!
› Your Weight
Further research is needed but existing studies suggest that the patch may be less effective if you weigh more than 198 pounds. So take that into consideration.
› Predictable Periods
If you feel comforted by getting your period every month—and not having random spotting in between—this could be a good choice for you.
› Skipping periods
Instead of having the week “off” the patch to have your period, you can skip it by always having a patch on, which is totally safe for most folks. Keep in mind that you’ll need to refill your prescription sooner. Always consult your healthcare provider before skipping your period.
› Smokers Over 35, Beware
If you’re over 35, smoking on the patch increases your risk of certain side effects.
› The pregnancy question
Your ability to get pregnant will return immediately after you stop using the patch. But if you’re not ready to get pregnant as soon as you stop, be sure to protect yourself with an alternate method.
› First months & beyond…
Most people adjust to having the patch pretty quickly but give yourself time. The most common (often temporary) side effects are irregular bleeding, sore breast/chest, and nausea. Some experience discomfort on the patch site. If these are still causing discomfort after a few months, talk to your provider — you’re worth it!
› have a back-up
The patch takes about 7 days to get working the first time you use it, so use a back-up method, like a condom, during that time. In the case of an emergency (like method failure), consider using emergency contraception and talk to your provider.
Where Can I Get One?
Call a partner clinic to see if you qualify to receive this method at no or low cost.