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Ortho Evra vs Xulane: The Skinny on Birth Control Patch Brands

Kristin Hall

Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP

Written by Nicholas Gibson

Published 07/21/2019

Updated 01/31/2021

If you’ve searched online for information about the birth control patch, you might have seen the brand names Ortho Evra and Xulane mentioned.

Ortho Evra® and Xulane® are both birth control patches. In fact, they both contain the exact same active ingredients. Ortho Evra is the older brand name, whereas Xulane is a generic version of the medication that emerged on the market more recently.

Below, we’ve covered the basics of these two medications, from when they first came to market, to whether or not they’re still available. We’ve also explained how you can buy the birth control patch today, both online and from your local pharmacy.

Ortho Evra is the name of the first transdermal contraceptive (birth control patch) to come onto the market in the United States. Developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, it was first approved by the FDA in 2001 and became available to the public over the course of the next year. 

Each Ortho Evra patch contains a combination of ethinyl estradiol and norelgestromin. To use the medication, all you need to do is apply a new patch every seven days. Depending on how it’s used, the Ortho Evra patch is 91 percent to 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. 

The hormones in the Ortho Evra patch are the same as those used in combined birth control pills. Instead of delivering these hormones to your bloodstream through your stomach, Ortho Evra delivers them through your skin.

Ortho Evra was discontinued in 2014 after the FDA approved Xulane, a generic birth control patch that uses the same formula. As a result of this, you can no longer purchase the Ortho Evra birth control patch in the United States.

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Xulane is a generic version of the ethinyl estradiol and norelgestromin birth control patch. It contains the same ingredients as the Ortho Evra patch and is equally effective at preventing pregnancy if used correctly. 

The FDA in 2014 approved Xulane as a generic alternative to Ortho Evra. Xulane is made by generic pharmaceutical company Mylan Pharmaceuticals. Like Ortho Evra, Xulane is a small, convenient patch that’s applied directly to your skin every seven days.

Xulane became available in 2014. If you have a prescription, you can purchase it from many pharmacies. 

In countries such as Canada and the UK, the ethinyl estradiol and norelgestromin birth control patch is sold under the brand name Evra®. This patch contains the same ingredients as Xulane and Ortho Evra and has the same effects as a hormonal contraceptive.

Currently, Xulane is the only birth control patch sold in the United States. If you have an existing prescription from your healthcare provider, you can purchase it from many pharmacies. Each pack contains three patches, providing three weeks of contraception and one patch-free week. 

Xulane is not sold over the counter. Generic estrogen patches, such as those used for hormone replacement therapy, are not effective methods of contraception and should not be used instead of the Xulane patch. 

If you’re looking for a safe, effective and convenient alternative to the birth control pill, the patch is definitely worth considering. Our Birth Control Patch 101 guide explains how it works, as well as how you can use it to protect yourself from becoming pregnant.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Kristin Hall, FNP

Kristin Hall is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with decades of experience in clinical practice and leadership. 

She has an extensive background in Family Medicine as both a front-line healthcare provider and clinical leader through her work as a primary care provider, retail health clinician and as Principal Investigator with the NIH

Certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, she brings her expertise in Family Medicine into your home by helping people improve their health and actively participate in their own healthcare. 

Kristin is a St. Louis native and earned her master’s degree in Nursing from St. Louis University, and is also a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. You can find Kristin on LinkedIn for more information.

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