The market for BIRTH CONTROL DEVICES is positively fertile, with several new products jostling for shelf space. They work like the Pill, secreting the same hormones--estrogen and the synthetic progestin--that are bad news as long-term therapy for postmenopausal women but are still considered relatively safe as contraceptives.
Ortho-McNeil's Ortho Evra is a squarish adhesive patch that sticks onto the body and lasts a week. Organon's NuvaRing is a clear plastic hoop inserted like a tampon and effective for three weeks. The package includes a clock to remind the user when to remove the ring. "These products are designed for women who don't want to think about contraception on a daily basis," says New York University Medical Center's Dr. Michael Silverstein.
--By Carole Buia