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The Transdermal Contraceptive Patch: An Updated Review of the Literature


Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology: December 2007 - Volume 50 - Issue 4 - p 918-926
doi: 10.1097/GRF.0b013e318159c410
Hormonal Contraception

The transdermal contraceptive patch which contains ethinyl estradiol and norelgestromin has an efficacy similar to current oral contraceptives (OCs). The major advantages include transdermal application and maintenance of adequate hormonal levels for at least 7 days. Side effects are similar to OC except for breast tenderness in the first 2 months of use and skin irritation at the application site. Although concern has been raised about a possible increased risk of venous thromboembolism, current available data comparing the patch to a norgestimate-containing OC ranges from no increase in risk to a 2.4-fold increase.

*Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York

Division of General Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Massachusetts

Correspondence: Katharine O'Connell, MD, MPH, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, 630 West 168th Street, PH16-80, New York, NY 10032. E-mail:

© 2007 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.