How is the contraceptive patch used?
A new patch is placed on the skin each week for 3 weeks. During the fourth week, if the patch is not worn, menstruation will most likely begin. After the fourth week, start over again and put on a new patch, even if there is still some bleeding from your period.

To help you remember, try to put a new patch on the same day each week. Place the patch on clean, dry skin and press to make sure it will stay on. Be careful not to touch the sticky side while putting it on your skin. Look each day to make sure the patch is still in place. The patch can be worn when bathing and swimming.

What if the patch application or detachment is delayed <48 hours?
When delaying the application or detachment of a patch <48 hours since a patch should have been applied or reattached, apply a new patch as soon as possible. If detachment occurred <24 hours since the patch was applied, try to reapply the patch or replace with a new patch. Keep the same patch change day. No additional contraceptive protection is needed. Emergency contraception is not usually needed but can be considered if delayed application or detachment occurred earlier in the cycle or in the last week of the previous cycle.

What if the patch application or detachment is delayed ≥48 hours?
When delaying the application or detachment of a patch ≥48 hours since a patch should have been applied or reattached, apply a new patch as soon as possible. Keep the same patch change day. Use back-up contraception (eg, condoms) or avoid sexual intercourse until a patch has been worn for
7 consecutive days. If the delayed application or detachment occurred in the third patch week omit the hormone-free week by finishing the third week of patch use (keeping the same patch change day) and starting a new patch immediately. If unable to start a new patch immediately, use back-up contraception (eg, condoms) or avoid sexual intercourse until a new patch has been worn for 7 consecutive days.

Emergency contraception should be considered if the delayed application or detachment occurred within the first week of patch use and unprotected sexual intercourse occurred in the previous 5 days. Emergency contraception may also be considered at other times as appropriate.

Further information:
Centers of Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/rr/rr6205.pdf
U.S. Department of health & Human Services: http://www.hhs.gov/opa/reproductive-health/contraception/patch/

Created July 2013