Ortho Evra is a contraceptive patch for women that contains the hormones estrogen and progestin. To use Ortho Evra, you apply the small patch to your skin once a week for three weeks. On the fourth week, you don't use a patch — which allows menstruation to occur.

Ortho Evra works similarly to combination birth control pills. Ortho Evra prevents pregnancy by releasing hormones into your bloodstream that suppress ovulation, keeping your ovaries from releasing an egg. Ortho Evra also thickens cervical mucus to keep sperm from reaching the egg.

Ortho Evra is the only contraceptive patch that's approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. To use Ortho Evra, you'll need a prescription from your health care provider.

Ortho Evra doesn't offer protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Jan. 10, 2013