Health Department

Joel Strasz - Public Health Director
Kathy Janer - Public Health Nursing Manager
Melissa Maillette - Emergency Preparedness & Health Education Manager
Amy Revette - WIC Manager
Mark Pickell - Business Services Manager
Joel Kwiatkowski - Environmental Health Manager
Dr. Thomas Bender - Medical Director
Dr. William Morrone - Medical Examiner
Bay County Health Department
1200 Washington Avenue
Bay City, Michigan 48708
Voice: (989) 895-4009
Fax: (989) 895-4014
Health Information Line: (989) 895-4192

Ortho Evra Contraceptive Patch

Ortho Evra® is a new form of contraception.  Since Ortho Evra® works in the same way that birth control pills work, most of the advantages, risks, and side-effects are considered to be the same for both methods.

Ortho Evra® is a thin, beige, plastic patch that sticks to the skin.  The sticky part of the patch contains the hormones norelgestromin and ethinyl estradiol, which are absorbed continuously through the skin and into the blood stream.  These hormones are similar to those produced by a woman's body.  They work to prevent pregnancy by keeping eggs from being released by the ovaries.  Ortho Evra® is expected to be at least as effective as birth control pills.  In early studies of this new contraceptive, the pregnancy rate of users was less than 1 per 100 women.


  • 99% with perfect use
  • Weight greater than 198 pounds may decrease effectiveness of the patch.  A back-up method is encouraged if you weigh more than 198 pounds.


  • Ortho Evra® is an effective method of birth control.
  • You do not need to remember to take the pill everyday.  You only need to remember to apply a patch once a week for three out of four weeks.
  • When you decide that you no longer want to use contraception and you discontinue your use of the patch, your ability to become pregnant should return quickly.

Some non-contraceptive benefits include:

  • Predictable, regular menstrual cycles
  • Decreased menstrual cramps and blood loss
  • Less acne
  • Some protection from non-cancerous breast tumors and ovarian cysts
  • Some protection from ovarian and uterine lining cancer


Risks for Ortho Evra® users are based on studies of women who use birth control pills.  These include:

  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Liver tumors

Women over the age of 35 years who smoke cigarettes should not use Ortho Evra®.


Minor reactions from use of Ortho Evra® may include:

  • Breast discomfort
  • Headache
  • Skin irritation at the patch site
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Menstrual cramps

Regular physical examinations for routine health care are recommended.  Condom use for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections is encouraged.