The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first hormone-releasing contraceptive implant. NuvaRing, sold by Organon, Inc., effectively blocks conception between 98 percent and 99 percent of the time -- meaning that for every 100 women who use it for a year, only one or two will become pregnant, the FDA says. That rate is similar to both the birth control pill and the yet-unapproved contraceptive patch, which releases a steady stream of estrogen and progestin that offers a week of pregnancy protection.
The new prescription device is a circle of soft, flexible polymer measuring 2.1 inches across. It releases a steady stream of the hormones etonogestrel and ethinyl estradiol, molecules like those found in oral contraceptives.