Zafemy vs Xulane: The Patch Challenge for Birth Control

Let’s delve into the differences between Zafemy vs Xulane. Zafemy and Xulane are both contraceptive patches, but Zafemy contains a different progestin hormone (norelgestromin) compared to Xulane (norelgestromin and ethinyl estradiol), potentially impacting their efficacy and side effects.

In today’s fast-paced world, women have a variety of contraceptive options to choose from, and two popular choices are Zafemy and Xulane. These contraceptive methods offer convenience and effectiveness, but they have their differences. As a medical expert, I’m here to provide you with an in-depth comparison of Zafemy and Xulane, shedding light on their features, benefits, and potential considerations.

What is Zafemy?

Zafemy is a hormonal birth control patch that is worn on the skin. It releases a combination of synthetic estrogen and progestin hormones into the bloodstream to prevent ovulation and thicken cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg. The patch is typically worn for three weeks, followed by a patch-free week. This consistent release of hormones ensures that your body maintains the necessary level of contraception to prevent pregnancy.

What is Xulane?

Xulane, like Zafemy, is also a contraceptive patch that contains synthetic estrogen and progestin. These hormones work together to suppress ovulation, alter cervical mucus, and create a barrier that prevents fertilization. The Xulane patch is worn for one week, followed by a patch-free week, which allows for a menstrual period to occur. This pattern of use can help some women keep track of their menstrual cycle more effectively.

Zafemy vs Xulane: Effectiveness

Both Zafemy and Xulane are highly effective when used correctly. They have a similar success rate in preventing pregnancy, with a failure rate of less than 1% when used as directed. However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of any birth control method can be influenced by factors such as consistency of use and individual health. Consulting a healthcare professional before making a decision is crucial to ensure you choose the method that aligns with your unique circumstances.

Method of Administration: Zafemy vs Xulane

Zafemy is applied once a week, and one patch lasts for seven days. It should be applied to clean, dry skin on the abdomen, buttocks, upper arm, or upper torso. The adhesive nature of the patch ensures that it remains securely in place, even during physical activities or exposure to water. On the other hand, Xulane is applied once a week as well, but each patch should be changed every week for three weeks, followed by a patch-free week. This routine can be helpful for women who prefer a more structured schedule for patch changes.

Zafemy vs Xulane: Hormone Composition

Both Zafemy and Xulane contain synthetic estrogen and progestin hormones, but the specific formulations may vary slightly. Zafemy uses a specific blend of hormones that has been carefully chosen to minimize side effects and provide effective contraception. Xulane, too, utilizes a combination of hormones that work harmoniously to prevent pregnancy. Your healthcare provider can guide you in selecting the option with the hormone composition that suits you best.

Zafemy vs Xulane: Convenience and Adherence

Zafemy requires changing the patch once a week on the same day, while Xulane involves changing the patch every week for three weeks. Some women may find the weekly routine of Zafemy more convenient, while others may prefer the cycle of Xulane. Adherence is a crucial factor in the effectiveness of both methods. If you’re confident in your ability to maintain a consistent schedule, either option can be suitable.

Zafemy vs Xulane: Possible Side Effects


  • Nausea and Vomiting: Some individuals may experience mild nausea or vomiting, especially during the initial use of Zafemy. Taking the patch at a different time of day or with food can help alleviate this.
  • Breast Tenderness: Changes in breast sensitivity or tenderness can occur due to hormonal fluctuations. These changes are usually temporary and resolve on their own.
  • Skin Irritation: Zafemy is applied directly to the skin, and some users may develop minor skin irritation or redness at the application site. Proper placement and rotation can help minimize this.
  • Headaches: Headaches are a potential side effect, but they tend to improve with time as your body adjusts to the hormones.
  • Mood Changes: Hormonal contraceptives like Zafemy can influence mood. Some individuals may experience mood swings or changes in emotions.


  • Skin Irritation: Similar to Zafemy, Xulane users may experience mild skin irritation at the patch site. Ensuring clean, dry skin and changing the patch’s location can reduce this.
  • Menstrual Changes: Xulane may lead to changes in menstrual bleeding patterns. This could include lighter or heavier periods, spotting, or missed periods.
  • Headaches: Headaches are a possible side effect of Xulane, especially initially. Staying hydrated and managing stress may help.
  • Mood Swings: Hormonal fluctuations in Xulane may contribute to mood swings or emotional changes in some individuals.
  • Breast Sensitivity: Increased breast tenderness or sensitivity might occur due to hormonal influences.

Managing Side Effects

It’s important to note that most of these side effects are manageable and tend to improve over time. If side effects are bothersome or persistent, consulting a healthcare provider is recommended. They can provide guidance on managing side effects and may suggest adjustments to your contraceptive method if needed.

Interactions with Other Medications

Certain medications and herbal supplements can interfere with the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives. It’s crucial to inform your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking to ensure that Zafemy or Xulane will not be compromised. Your provider can evaluate potential interactions and recommend appropriate precautions or alternative methods if needed.

Zafemy vs Xulane: Cost Comparison

The cost of Zafemy and Xulane can vary based on factors such as insurance coverage and location. Some brands of the contraceptive patch may also be more affordable than others. Before making a decision, it’s advisable to check with your insurance provider and compare prices at different pharmacies. Keep in mind that the initial investment in effective contraception can lead to long-term savings in avoiding unintended pregnancies.

Suitability for Different Lifestyles

Zafemy’s once-a-week application may be preferable for individuals with busy schedules, while Xulane’s patch-free week could offer flexibility for those who prefer a weekly routine. Your choice between the two methods should align with your lifestyle and preferences. Consider factors such as your daily routine, activities, and how comfortable you are with the patch-changing schedule.

Zafemy vs Xulane: Long-term vs. Short-term Use

Zafemy and Xulane are suitable for both short-term and long-term use. However, long-term use of hormonal contraceptives may have implications for fertility after discontinuation. If you’re considering starting a family in the near future, it’s important to discuss your family planning goals with a healthcare provider. They can provide guidance on the potential impact of these methods on your fertility.

Zafemy vs Xulane: Pros and Cons

When it comes to birth control options, Zafemy and Xulane are popular choices that offer effective contraception through hormonal patches. To help you make an informed decision, let’s examine the pros and cons of both methods.



  • Convenient Weekly Application: Zafemy requires changing the patch once a week, offering a simple routine for busy individuals.
  • Effective Contraception: With proper use, Zafemy has a high success rate in preventing pregnancy.
  • Reduced Menstrual Cramps: Some users report a decrease in menstrual cramps while using Zafemy.
  • Predictable Menstrual Cycle: Zafemy can help regulate and predict menstrual cycles, making it easier to track periods.
  • Ease of Discontinuation: If you decide to stop using Zafemy, you can simply remove the patch.


  • Skin Irritation: The adhesive may cause mild skin irritation or redness at the application site.
  • Possible Side Effects: Like any hormonal contraceptive, Zafemy may cause nausea, breast tenderness, or mood changes.
  • Weekly Changes: Remembering to change the patch weekly is essential for consistent contraception.
  • Not STI Protection: Zafemy does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Placement Challenges: Ensuring proper patch placement and rotation is necessary to avoid irritation.



  • Weekly Application: Similar to Zafemy, Xulane is changed weekly, providing a straightforward routine.
  • Effective Pregnancy Prevention: Xulane offers reliable contraception when used correctly.
  • Lighter Periods: Some users experience lighter and shorter periods while using Xulane.
  • Predictable Bleeding: Xulane’s patch-free week often leads to more predictable bleeding patterns.
  • Ease of Removal: Discontinuing Xulane is as simple as removing the patch.



  • Skin Sensitivity: Like Zafemy, Xulane may cause mild skin irritation at the application site.
  • Potential Side Effects: Hormonal changes in Xulane can lead to headaches, mood swings, or breast tenderness.
  • Strict Timing: Changing the patch weekly and adhering to the schedule is crucial for effectiveness.
  • Not STI Protection: Xulane does not provide protection against STIs.
  • Cycle Adjustment: Some individuals may experience irregular bleeding patterns during the initial use of Xulane.

Choosing Between Zafemy and Xulane

The decision between Zafemy and Xulane is a personal one that should take into account various factors. Consulting a healthcare provider is essential to make an informed choice that aligns with your needs. Your provider can assess your medical history, lifestyle, and preferences to help you determine which method may be the most suitable for you. Remember that no two individuals are the same, and what works well for one person may not be the best fit for another.

Zafemy vs Xulane: Final Verdict

In the realm of contraceptive options, Zafemy and Xulane offer women reliable and effective choices. Their similarities in hormone composition and mode of action are noteworthy, yet their differences in application, convenience, and individual reactions set them apart. By understanding these nuances, you can confidently select the contraceptive patch that best suits your lifestyle and preferences. Remember, the key to successful contraception lies in informed decision-making and consistent use.



What is the alternative to Xulane patch?

An alternative to the Xulane patch is the Ortho Evra patch, which was one of the first birth control patches available. However, it’s important to note that Ortho Evra has its own set of benefits and potential side effects.

What are the issues with Zafemy patch?

Some users of the Zafemy patch have reported mild skin irritation or redness at the application site. Additionally, as with any hormonal contraceptive, Zafemy may cause side effects such as nausea, breast tenderness, and mood changes in some individuals.

What is the generic for Xulane?

The generic name for Xulane is “ethinyl estradiol/norelgestromin transdermal.”

What is the brand name of Zafemy?

Zafemy is the brand name for a specific birth control patch.

What is the birth control patch called Zafemy?

Zafemy is a type of hormonal birth control patch that contains synthetic estrogen and progestin.

Is Xulane the only birth control patch?

No, Xulane is not the only birth control patch available. Other patches, such as Ortho Evra and Zafemy, also provide hormonal contraception.

When is Zafemy effective?

Zafemy is effective when used correctly, starting on the first day of your menstrual cycle. It is recommended to apply the patch on the same day each week for three weeks, followed by a patch-free week.

Why was the Evra patch discontinued?

The Ortho Evra patch, also known as the Evra patch, was discontinued due to concerns about a higher exposure to estrogen compared to traditional birth control pills. This higher estrogen exposure was associated with a slightly increased risk of blood clots.

How long does it take for Zafemy to start working?

Zafemy typically becomes effective as contraception when used consistently for seven days after the first application. It is advisable to use an additional method of contraception during the first week of use.

Is Xulane FDA approved?

Yes, Xulane is FDA approved as a hormonal birth control patch for preventing pregnancy.

What is the failure rate of Xulane patch?

The failure rate of the Xulane patch is very low, with less than 1% chance of pregnancy when used correctly and consistently.

Is Xulane safe to use?

Xulane is considered safe for many individuals. However, like all medications, it can have potential side effects and risks. It’s important to discuss your medical history and any concerns with a healthcare provider before using Xulane.

What is the difference between Zafemy and Twirla?

Zafemy and Twirla are both hormonal birth control patches, but they may have differences in hormone composition, application, and potential side effects. Consulting a healthcare provider can help determine which patch is more suitable for you.

Who is the manufacturer of Zafemy?

The manufacturer of Zafemy is Agile Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company that specializes in women’s healthcare products.

What is the name of Xulane?

Xulane is the brand name for a specific birth control patch that contains ethinyl estradiol and norelgestromin.


  1. Ortho Evra. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  2. RxList. (n.d.). Zafemy Side Effects Center. Retrieved from
  3. WebMD. (n.d.). Ethinyl Estradiol/Norelgestromin Transdermal Patch. Retrieved from

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