This medication is contained in a patch that is to be applied to your skin. It must be placed on a hairless area, preferably on the abdomen or buttocks. Avoid touching the sticky side when handling the patch. To apply: thoroughly clean and dry the area, then apply the patch and press firmly. When you change patches, apply the new one at a different location. Wait a week before applying a patch at the same location. The patch may cause itching or a rash where it has been applied. If such a reaction persists, consult your pharmacist.
Usually, this contraceptive method is based on a 28-day cycle; 3 weeks on, 1 week off. Wear each patch for 7 days, replacing it with a fresh one on the same day each week. After wearing a patch for 3 weeks, take 1 week off, then restart the cycle. If you forget to change your patch or if you start a cycle late, contact your pharmacist who can help advise you on what to do next. Your health care professional may have suggested a different schedule that is more appropriate for you.
Patches are waterproof; you may swim or take a shower. If a patch peels off, partially or completely, its contraceptive effectiveness could be reduced. If you can't stick it back naturally (without tape), replace it with a fresh one. If the patch remains even partly detached for more than 24 hours or if you are not sure how long the patch has been detached, contact your pharmacist.
Heat may increase drug absorption. Avoid heat sources such as heating pads, electric blankets, saunas, heated waterbeds, hot baths or sun bathe. Call your health care professional if you get a fever.
In addition to its desired action, this medication may cause some side effects, notably:
Each person may react differently to a treatment. If you think this medication may be causing side effects (including those described here, or others), talk to your health care professional. He or she can help you to determine whether or not the medication is the source of the problem.
As with most medications, this product should be stored at room temperature. Store it in a secure location where it will not be exposed to excessive heat, moisture or direct sunlight. Do not allow it to freeze. There is enough drug left in a used patch to be harmful to children. Before you dispose of a patch, fold it in half with the sticky sides together. Make sure that children will not be able to manipulate it.
You are advised not to smoke when taking hormonal contraceptives. Smoking increases the risks of cardiovascular disease and stroke. The risks increase with age and with as few as 15 cigarettes a day. The increased risks are significant enough that after the age of 35, smokers should change their contraceptive method.
This medication may interact with other medications or supplements, sometimes significantly. Many interactions, however, may be dealt with by a dosage adjustment or a change in medication schedule. Check with your pharmacist before using this medication in combination with any other medications (including non-prescription products), vitamins or natural products.
When meeting with any health professional, it is important for you to share the following information:
It is also strongly recommended that you keep an up-to-date list of all the medications you take and carry it with you at all times. This could be useful if you have to see a health professional or need emergency care.
Keep all your medications out of the reach of children and pets and return any unused or expired medications to the pharmacy for proper disposal.