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Beyond the Pill

The patch.

The patch is a highly effective, weekly hormonal birth control patch that is worn on the skin to prevent pregnancy. The patch is especially good for those who have a hard time remembering to take a pill each day. It is safe for use in healthy nonsmokers, from teens to women in their 40s. It is, in essence, the pill in patch form—the hormones are the same, but the delivery method is different, since the hormones are absorbed through your skin. It is worn for one week and replaced on the same day of the week for three consecutive weeks, with the fourth week "patch-free." The patch is a very thin, beige, smooth square that measures 1-3/4 inch on each of its four sides. It can be worn on the arms, buttocks or abdomen. It has the same health risks, benefits and side effects as the pill. A few women have mild skin irritation from the patch adhesive.