Side Effects

Some users report the following:

  • Skin irritation or rash where the patch is applied
  • Woman's back showing placement of patchChanges in bleeding patterns:
    • Lighter bleeding and fewer days of bleeding
    • Irregular bleeding
    • Prolonged bleeding
    • No monthly bleeding
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Breast tenderness and pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flu symptoms/upper respiratory infection
  • Irritation, redness, or inflammation of the vagina (vaginitis)

Known Health Benefits and Health Risks

Long-term studies of the patch are limited, but researchers expect that its health benefits and risks are like those of combined oral contraceptives (see Chapter 1 – Combined Oral Contraceptives, section on Side Effects, Health Benefits and Health Risks).


Medical eligibility criteria guidelines for when to start and helping continuing users for the combined patch are the same for combined oral contraceptives and the combined vaginal ring. See Chapter 1 – Combined Oral Contraceptives.

For definitions of bleeding patterns, see “vaginal bleeding” in the Glossary.