Birth Control Patch

1. What is a birth control patch?

Birth control patch is a bandage-like patch that attaches directly to skin, producing hormones, and the medication is absorbed through skin.  In 2002, FDA approved the use of a combination contraceptive patch (Ortho Evra) which was later discontinued. 

Currently, Xulane (and its generic medication) is the only birth control patch sold in the United States.  V.ARIA prescribes a generic medication of Xulane which is a combined Ethinyl estradiol + Norelgestromin.

2. How does it work?

The patch releases 20 mcg of ethinyl estradiol and 150 mcg of norelgestromin per day through skin. It inhibits ovulation in much the same way as oral contraceptive pills.

3. How long does it last and how frequently does it need to be replaced?

The patch is applied weekly for three weeks, followed by a patch-free week during which withdrawal bleeding occurs.

4. Where do you apply the patch?

You can choose the location of your preference but the recommended application sites include the upper arm, buttocks, lower abdomen, and upper torso (such as upper back or chest, excluding the breasts).

5. How much am I expected to pay for the patch at a local pharmacy?

The lowest price with a coupon for the most common version of generic xulane patch is around $41, about 70% off the average retail price of $138.24.