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For women who are preventing pregnancy with the birth control patch, dosing is the same for everyone -- one patch applied each week for the first three weeks of your menstrual cycle. No patches are worn during the last week (to allow for a menstrual period). You can wear the birth control patch on the upper, outer arm; the upper torso (the front or back, but not on the breasts); the abdomen; or the buttocks.

The Birth Control Patch Dosing: An Introduction

There is only one standard dose of the birth control patch (norelgestromin/ethinyl estradiol). As always, do not adjust your birth control patch dose unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.
 

The Birth Control Patch Dosing for Birth Control

One birth control patch should be applied every seven days for three weeks in a row (don't forget to take the old patch off each time). After the third week, the last patch is removed for a seven-day break without any patches. You will usually start your period during this week. After seven days, you should start a new cycle with a new birth control patch, even if you are still having your period.
 
When you take the birth control patch for the first time, you can start the first patch either on the first day of your period or on the first Sunday after your period starts. If you start the birth control patch on the first day of your period (a "day 1 start"), you do not need to use any backup contraception. If you choose a Sunday start, you need to use a backup method of contraception (such as condoms) for the first week. If the first day of your period happens to be on a Sunday, treat this as a day 1 start (no backup needed). If you switch from another type of birth control pill, start taking the birth control patch on the day you would normally start a new pack of birth control pills (no backup necessary).
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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