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Transdermal Contraceptives vs Oral Contraceptives

Transdermal contraceptive generally comes in the form of a patch that is applied to the skin to prevent pregnancy. It releases a low dosage combination of progestin and estrogen through the skin. Currently, Ortho Evra is the only transdermal hormone contraceptive that is available. Approved by the FDA in 2002, Ortho Evra is available in Europe, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and the United States.

Ortho Evra is a small patch that is similar to a bandage, but it is about 1¾ inches on each side. The patch contains three layers like a bandage. The top protective layer is made of polyester, the middle layer is an adhesive and the bottom layer is the release liner that is removed before it is applied to the skin. Through the adhesive layer, hormones are released from the patch to the bloodstream via the skin.

Correct use of the patch means applying the first patch within five days after the period begins and changing it each week for three weeks. The patch is applied to a new area weekly and should not be moved until removal. The patch can be placed on the buttocks, lower abdomen, upper outer arm, or anywhere on the upper body except the breasts. The patch can endure vigorous activities including swimming, bathing, working and exercising. When used correctly, only 0.6% of women get pregnant in their first year of use. Even when not used correctly all of the time, the patch is still highly effective. Only 0.8% of women had gotten pregnant when used incorrectly in their first year of use.

Oral contraceptives are the most popular type of birth control. While there is only one type of transdermal contraceptive, there are many different brands of birth control pills. They generally come in the same style, with the last week of pills, also known as spacer or reminder pills, of a 28-day pack have no hormones. The pill is 92-99.7% effective as birth control. It does not protect against reproductive tract infections, including HIV/AIDS.

The pill is a small pill that can come in a variety of colors, but the most common color is white. In order to work effectively, the pill must be taken daily around the same time. When started within six days of the start of a period or after an abortion, the pill is effective immediately. If started at other times, it will be effective after one month. Condoms may be used in addition to the pill for added protection against pregnancy and disease.

Compared to the pill, transdermal contraceptives are better for women who often forget to take pills. The patch is also more effective because there is less of a chance of women using it incorrectly.