Pharmacy Corner
Pills, Patches & Rings Patch

  1. Where can I apply the birth control patch?
    The patch can be applied to the buttock, abdomen, upper outer arm or upper torso. It should not be applied to breast, or red, irritated, or cut skin. Apply the patch somewhere you can check every day to ensure it has not peeled or fallen off.
  2. Can I cut the patch into smaller pieces and apply those to my body?
    No, the patch should not be cut or altered in any way. Apply the full patch every time that you use it.
  3. What should I do if I am a day late changing my patch?
    The patch contains enough medication to work for 9 days, and so you are still protected as long as the previous patch was still on.2 Change the patch as soon as possible but keep the original patch change date.
  4. What are some common side effects I can expect while on the patch?
    Some of the more common side effects from the patch are:1,4
    • Skin irritation/redness
      • Apply the patch to a different part of your body each time you apply a new patch
    • Breast tenderness
      • Tends to get better with time. Talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner if it does not get better
    • Breakthrough bleeding/spotting
      • Most often occurs within the first 3 months of starting the patch. Your bleeding should go back to a regular cycle as your body gets used to the patch
    • Nausea
      • Tends to get better with time. Talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner if it is very bothersome
    • Headache
      • Tends to get better with time. Talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner if it is very bothersome
  5. My skin gets irritated and red at the spot I put the patch. How can I prevent this?
    One of the most common side effects of the patch is skin irritation.1,4 To prevent this from happening, apply the patch to a different part of your body each time you apply a new patch. You can apply a new patch at the same spot the week after if it is not irritated.
  6. How should I dispose of the patch after I take it off?
    The patch still contains medication after you take it off. Carefully fold the patch so the sticky sides stick together and throw it in the garbage, away from small children and pets.
  7. What should I do if the patch fell off, or if a corner peeled off (<24 hours since detachment)?
    Reapply the old patch by gently applying pressure with your hand for 10 seconds, or apply a new patch as soon as possible. The patch change day will remain the same (for example, if you normally change your patch on Tuesdays but the patch fell off on Wednesday, keep the change date on Tuesday even if that means you will not have your patch on for 7 days) and continue with your regular schedule.2,6
  8. What should I do if the patch fell off for longer than a day (≥24hours) or I am uncertain of how long it was off?
    Consult your pharmacist or healthcare provider for advice if the patch has been off for longer than 24 hours.


    SexualityandU.ca has a great tool that can help with missed patches, you can access it at:

  9. Should I always keep the patch on or only when I am having sex?
    You should always keep the patch on, even if you are not having sex at the time. The patch should be worn for 24 hours per day, and changed every 7 days as directed by your doctor, nurse practitioner or pharmacist.
  10. Will the patch work if I am overweight?
    There is some evidence that the patch may not work as well in women weighing over 90kg (198lb). Women that weigh more than 90kg should talk to their doctor or nurse practitioner about other options.1,4,5
  11. I am on my patch-free week and I haven’t had my period yet. Am I pregnant?
    As long as you used the patch as directed without having it peel off, then you are likely not pregnant. The patch is 99% effective if used as perfectly.1 It is common for some women to not get a period during their “off week”.2 Continue to use the patch and talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner if you continue to miss your period during your patch-free week.

    However, if the patch peeled off for longer than 24 hours then you may be pregnant. Talk to your healthcare provider for a pregnancy test. Stop the patch immediately if you are pregnant.