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The birth control patch is a combined contraceptive that contains both a progestin and an estrogen. One new patch is applied each week for the first three weeks of your menstrual cycle. Although most people do not experience any problems while using the patch, side effects are possible and may include headaches, nausea, and skin reactions. Prior to using the patch, talk to your healthcare provider about any health conditions you have.

What Is the Birth Control Patch?

The birth control patch (norelgestromin/ethinyl estradiol) is a skin patch that is used for contraception (to prevent pregnancy). It contains norelgestromin (a progestin) and ethinyl estradiol (an estrogen), which are released slowly over time. Each birth control patch is changed once a week.
(Click What Is the Birth Control Patch Used For? for more information on what the birth control patch is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Side Effects

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with the birth control patch. However, not everyone who uses the contraceptive will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
Common side effects of the birth control patch include, but are not limited to:
  • Breast tenderness or enlargement
  • Headaches
  • Skin reactions where the patch was placed
  • Nausea.
(Click Birth Control Patch Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects that you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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