Contraceptive Ring Trumps Patch Among Pill Users

Ring causes less side effects than patch

THURSDAY, Jan. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Women using oral contraceptives who are looking for an alternative, non-daily combined hormonal contraceptive favor the contraceptive ring over the patch, according to a report published in the February issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Mitchell D. Creinin, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pittsburgh, Pa., and colleagues conducted a study of 500 women who were randomized to switch from oral contraceptives to either the contraceptive ring or the contraceptive patch for four consecutive menstrual cycles.

Among ring users, 94.6 percent completed three cycles, compared with 88.2 percent of patch users. Only 26.5 percent of patch users said they would continue with this method of contraception, versus 71 percent for ring users. Longer periods were experienced by 38 percent of patch users and 9 percent of ring users, while increased dysmenorrhea affected 29 percent of patch users and 16 percent of ring users. Frequent mood swings and skin rash were also more prevalent among patch users, although more ring users experienced frequent vaginal discharge.

"These findings do not imply that all women using a combined oral contraceptive should be counseled to switch to a ring. However, the information from this study can help health care providers counsel women who desire a non-daily combined hormonal contraceptive method," the authors write.

The study authors have disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Physician's Briefing