The condom and the pill aren't your only options

Long-Acting Contraception
Short-Acting Contraception
Emergency Contraception
Other Options

What is it?

The contraceptive patch contains the hormones estrogen and progestogen. It sticks to the skin and can be put on the stomach, thigh, buttocks or upper arm. It is not transparent, so this method is visible.

The hormones are released continuously into the bloodstream through the skin. You wear a new patch each week for three weeks, followed by a week’s break.

How reliable is it?

Make sure you follow the packet instructions very carefully because if you forget to change the patch you may not be fully protected and you could get pregnant.

With “perfect use” the patch is over 99% effective meaning that less than 1 woman in 100 will become pregnant in a year.1

Because with every day “typical use” many women sometimes don’t use it correctly, up to 9 women out of 100 in one year will become pregnant.1

Typical use

91% 1



  • It only has to be changed once a week.
  • It is easy to use
  • Its effectiveness is not decreased if you vomit or have diarrhoea
  • Your fertility (ability to become pregnant) will quickly return to normal when you stop using the patch


  • It can cause similar hormonal type side effects as you would experience with the combined pill e.g. mood swings, changed in sex drive, headaches, bloating or bleeding problems
  • You may experience skin irritation
  • It could potentially fall off without you noticing. If this happens it is important to contact your healthcare professional or read the packet leaflet for advice
  • It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections

Where can I get it?

You can get the contraceptive patch from a doctor, Family Planning Clinic or Well Woman Clinic. Your doctor will write a prescription for the patch and you then bring this to a Pharmacy where you can buy it. For Medical Card patients the patch is available on the GMS (General Medical Services).


1. Trussell J. Contraceptive failure in the United States. Contraception 83 (2011) 397–404.