How effective is it? Over 99% effective when used correctly. Less than 1 woman in every 100 will get pregnant each year using this method.
How does it work? A small patch placed on the skin releases oestrogen and progesterone. It stops ovulation, thickens cervical mucus to prevent sperm reaching the egg and thins the lining of the uterus to prevent a fertilised egg implanting.
Advantages: Don’t have to think about it every day, not affected by vomiting or diarrhoea, can make periods lighter, more regular and less painful.
Disadvantages: Not suitable for very overweight people, smokers over 35 years old. Temporary side effects include skin reaction, headaches, nausea, breast tenderness and mood changes. Small risk of serious side effects: blood clots, breast and cervical cancer.
Other facts: Patch may be seen. It is worn for 3 out of 4 weeks. There may be some “breakthrough” bleeding between periods when the patch is off.