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Evra contraceptive patch

Evra contraceptive patch
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The Evra contraceptive patch is a combined contraceptive which is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, when used correctly. The patch is worn on the body and changed each week. It’s a great option for women who worry about forgetting to take their pill each day.

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Information on the Evra patch

The Evra patch works in the same way as other combined contraceptives. It contains 2 hormones, oestrogen and progestogen. These hormones work to prevent an egg from being released by the ovaries, thin the lining of the womb to make it harder for a fertilised egg to implant and thicken the mucus in the cervix making it more difficult for sperm to move through the cervix. These three actions make it unlikely for pregnancy to occur. 

How to use the Evra patch

The Evra patch should be applied directly to a clean, dry area of your skin. You can go in the shower, sauna and do exercise while wearing the patch, but it’s worth double checking it’s not fallen off afterwards. It’s best to avoid applying the patch to an area that is particularly hairy, is sore or irritated, where it might get rubbed off by tight clothing or on your breasts. It’s good to change the area you stick the patch each time you have a new one, this will help avoid any irritation to the skin.

You should apply your first patch for 7 days and then change to a new patch on the 8th day. Continue using the patch in this way until you’ve used 3 patches, then you typically have a patch-free week. During this week, you'll most likely have a withdrawal bleed, which is like a period, but is just your body’s response to the break from the hormones in the patch. You can shorten this break from a week to 4 days. 

If you would like to avoid this patch-free week and withdrawal bleed you can just change your patch each week with no break. Or you can change your patch each week for 9 weeks without a break, and then have either a 4 or 7 day break from the patch. This is called tricyling. 

Advantages of the Evra patch

There are lots of advantages to the Evra patch, when compared with other contraceptives. The main benefit is that you don’t have to remember to take a pill each day, which can eliminate any anxiety around missing a pill. 

Other advantages include:

  • easy to use and doesn’t interrupt sex
  • if you experience sickness or diarrhoea your protection against pregnancy won’t be affected, this is because the hormones contained in the patch are absorbed through the skin rather than the stomach
  • it can help with premenstrual symptoms
  • it can help make periods more regular and in some cases lighter and less painful
  • evidence suggests it may reduce the risk of ovarian, womb and bowel cancer
  • can reduce the risk of fibroids, ovarian cysts and non-cancerous breast disease

Do I need a prescription for the Evra patch?

To get the Evra patch, you will need a prescription as it is a prescription-only treatment.

Our LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor clinicians can prescribe you the Evra patch, if suitable. You will then need to go into a pharmacy to pick up the prescription and have your height, weight and blood pressure checked. These checks are done to ensure you can safely use the Evra patch and are taken for all combined contraceptives.

Other contraception options

There are a variety of contraception options available at LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, the routine contraception clinic, including the combined contraceptive pill, low-dose pill, progestogen-only pill (often known as the mini pill) and the contraceptive ring (NuvaRing). There are also long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC), such as the implant, IUS (hormonal coil), IUD (copper coil) and injection.

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Evra patch frequently asked questions

  • What if the Evra patch falls off?

    The Evra patch should stay on most of the time, even if you go in the shower, bath, swimming pool, hot tub or sauna. But if for whatever reason it does come off, you may not be protected against pregnancy and you might need to use another form of contraception. 

    If your patch has been off for less than 48 hours the best thing to do is stick it back on or replace with a new patch. Continue to use the patch as normal, changing it on the day you would have. You should be protected against pregnancy in this instance, provided you’ve used the patch correctly in the days prior to it coming off. 

    If your patch has been off for more than 48 hours you should put on a new patch as soon as possible and this will be the beginning of a new cycle. This means you’re back to day 1, week 1, of your 3-week patch cycle. For the first 7 days of this new cycle you should use another form of contraception, such as condoms, if you’re having sex. If you’ve had unprotected sex in the period that your patch wasn’t on, you might need emergency contraception. 

  • What should I do if I forget to change my Evra patch?

    If you forget to change your patch, but are within 48 hours of your usual changeover day, simply replace the patch as soon as possible. You should be protected against pregnancy and can continue your contraception as normal. 

    If it’s been more than 48 hours you need to apply a new patch as soon as possible. This will now be the start of a new cycle, meaning you’re back to day 1, week 1, of your 3-week patch cycle. For the first 7 days of this new cycle you should use another form of contraception, such as condoms, if you’re having sex. If you’ve had unprotected sex in the period that your patch wasn’t on, you might need emergency contraception.

  • Are there any side effects to the Evra patch?

    Like with many medications, some people will experience side effects when using the Evra patch. Common side effects include headaches, skin irritation, nausea and breast tenderness. In some rare cases women develop blood clots. 

  • Is there anyone who can’t use the Evra patch?

    The Evra patch is suitable for lots of women, however you may not be able to use the patch if:

    • you’re breastfeeding and your baby is less than 6 weeks old
    • you’re a smoker who’s over 35
    • you’re very overweight
    • you’re taking medication for epilepsy, TB or HIV, as well as certain antibiotics or St John’s Wort
    • you have history of blood clots
    • you have a heart problem
    • you have lupus
    • you have breast cancer or significant family history of breast cancer
    • you get migraines with aura
    • you have a disease of the liver or gallbladder
    • you have diabetes with complications

References

www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/contraceptive-patch/