Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages of Birth Control Patch
The main disadvantage with oral contraceptive pills is that the woman has to take the pills every day.
This could lead to missed doses and failure of contraception. On the other hand, a birth control patch is easy and convenient to use. It has to be changed only weekly. It is effective for patients with vomiting or diarrhea, conditions in which an oral pill may be ineffective. It also shares other advantages with oral pills such as:
- It has a very low failure rate
- It regulates menstrual bleeding and reduces the chances of anemia
- It reduces premenstrual symptoms and pain associated with menses
- It helps to treat acne
- It lessens a womans risk for ovarian and uterine cancer as well as ovarian cysts and pelvic inflammatory disease
The patch particularly benefits adolescent patients. Women of this age group often opt for oral contraceptives but forget to take pills regularly and experience failure of contraception.
Disadvantages of Birth Control Patch
- The birth control patch may be ineffective in women weighing more than 90 kgs (or 198 lbs.) of weight.
- It may result in allergic skin reactions especially in women with sensitive skin.
- Initial spotting, breast discomfort and headaches are more common in patch users than those taking oral contraceptives.
- Since the user is exposed to higher levels of estrogen than in an oral contraceptive pill, chances of blood clots are higher. The FDA has issued a warning in this regard. Women at risk for blood clots such as smokers (especially those over 35 years of age), those with prior instances of blood clots, heart attack or stroke cannot use these patches.
- As with oral contraceptive pills, women with breast or uterus cancer, diabetes, liver disease, high blood pressure or allergy to the components should not use the patch.
- Risk of developing breast cancer may be slightly increased.
- Other side effects such as mood changes are similar to those experienced with oral contraceptives.
- William A. Fisher, Amanda Black. Contraception in Canada: a review of method choices, characteristics, adherence and approaches to counselling. CMAJ March 27, 2007 176(7):953-61
- Alessandra Graziottin. Safety, efﬁcacy and patient acceptability of the combined estrogen and progestin transdermal contraceptive patch: a review
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