Weight Change and Hormonal Contraception: Fact and Fiction

Mags E Beksinska; Jenni A Smit; Franco Guidozzi


Expert Rev of Obstet Gynecol. 2011;6(1):45-56. 

In This Article

Combined Contraceptive Patch

The combined contraceptive patch is a small, square piece of film resembling a plaster that sticks to the body. Replaced weekly, the patch is worn for three consecutive weeks followed by a patch-free week. The Ortho Evra® patch (Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., NJ, USA) was approved by the US FDA in 2001 and works primarily by preventing ovulation. As a relatively new method there are limited data available on weight change; however, existing data show that use is not related to weight gain.[48–51] One randomized controlled trial that evaluated the Ortho Evra patch against a placebo found no difference in weight change over time between the two groups.[48] In a later pooled analysis of three trials with up to 13 treatment cycles, a small mean increase of 0.3 kg was found in 812 patch users.[50] This was not significantly different from the COC comparative group. In one study that focused on adolescents, no significant changes in BMI were noted in the 28 adolescents, and only one discontinued owing to perceived weight gain.[51]


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