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Contraceptive patch

About the patch

The contraceptive patch contains oestrogen and progestogen like those used in the combined pill. It is more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. It is a small, thin, pink-beige coloured patch. Stick the patch directly onto your skin. You can put it onto most areas of your body, as long as the skin is clean, dry and not very hairy. You shouldn't stick the patch onto:

  • sore or irritated skin
  • an area where it may get rubbed off by tight clothing
  • your breasts

It's a good idea to change the position of each new patch to help reduce the chance of skin irritation.

Each patch lasts for 7 days. You apply a new patch once a week for 3 weeks. Following this you stop using the patch for 7 days and during this week you have a period-type bleed.

The patch can help with heavy or painful periods and may help acne. Minor side effects include mood swings, breast tenderness and headaches.

The patch does not protect against sexually transmitted infection (STIs), so using a condoms as well will help to protect you against STIs.

Using a contraceptive patch could be helpful if you can’t remember to take a pill every day. The patch isn’t affected by vomiting or diarrhoea.

If the patch falls off or if you forget to change the patch, it’s possible you may still be protected against pregnancy, but it depends how long the patch has been off. Check the leaflet in your box of patches for extra advice on what to do. If the patch has been off for more than 48 hours and you've had unprotected sex you may need emergency contraception.

The patch isn’t suitable for everyone. Your nurse or doctor will ask you questions to check if it’s a good option for you.

Where you can get the contraceptive patch from

You can get contraceptive patches from any our clinics or your GP.

If you think the patch is the right contraception choice, you can:

  • make an appointment online to come into one of our clinics 
  • visit any of our walk-in and wait clinics.

If you need to bring your child/children with you to your appointment we recommend you bring another adult with you to care for them.

*Our walk-in and wait clinics offer limited slots and operate on a first come first served basis. When clinics are at full capacity, patients asking to be seen will be triaged and those who fit our urgent criteria will be a priority. At busy times we may need to signpost non-urgent cases to other clinics or recommend patients make an appointment for an alternative day or suggest a return visit.

More information

Visit NHS Choices - contraceptive patch



Last updated: 29/11/2022