Each patch lasts a week. You use 3 patches in a row for a total of 3 weeks, then stop for a week, during which a withdrawal bleeding similar to a menstrual period may occur. After the patch-free week, you restart a new patch and the 4-week cycle repeats again.
The patch is applied directly to clean, dry skin. Most areas of the body are suitable: the buttocks, hips, abdomen, shoulders and upper back are possible areas you can apply the patch to. You should avoid areas where friction between clothing and skin may cause the patch to come loose, or areas with open wounds or irritated skin. Rotating the site of application is recommended in order to reduce the risk of skin irritation.
The patch is extremely sticky and you can shower, swim, exercise and continue with daily activities with it on.
If the patch is started on Day 1 of the menstrual cycle, it is immediately effective in conferring protection against pregnancy. However, if it is started anytime else during the menstrual cycle, barrier protection (condoms) should be used for the first 7 days.