Objectives: To evaluate the efficacy, cycle control, compliance, and safety of a transdermal contraceptive system that delivers norelgestromin 150 microg and ethinyl estradiol 20 microg daily.
Methods: In this open-label, 73-center study, 1672 healthy, ovulatory, sexually active women received ORTHO EVRA/EVRA for six (n = 1171) or 13 cycles (n = 501). The treatment regimen for each cycle was three consecutive 7-day patches (21 days) followed by 1 patch-free week.
Results: The overall and method-failure probabilities of pregnancy through 13 cycles were 0.7% and 0.4%, respectively. The incidence of breakthrough bleeding was low throughout the study. Perfect compliance (21 consecutive days of dosing, followed by a 7-day drug-free interval; no patch could be worn for more than 7 days) was achieved in 90% of subject cycles; only 1.9% of patches detached completely. Adverse events were typical of hormonal contraception, and most were mild-to-moderate in severity and not treatment limiting. The most common adverse events resulting in discontinuation were application site reactions (1.9%), nausea (1.8%), emotional lability (1.5%), headache (1.1%), and breast discomfort (1.0%).
Conclusions: The transdermal contraceptive patch provides effective contraception and cycle control, and is well tolerated. The weekly change schedule for the contraceptive patch is associated with excellent compliance and wearability characteristics.