First Contraceptive Patch

Women who don't want the pill can now get the same birth control benefit from a patch.

Federal health officials have approved sale of the world's first contraceptive patch. The device gives women an option considered as safe and effective as the pill, but easier for some to use.

Ortho-Evra sends, through the skin, low doses of the same hormones used in birth control pills. But the patch only requires women to remember to use it weekly -- not daily, as with the pill.

But the Food and Drug Administration warns that the patch may not work as well for women who weigh more than 198 pounds. An F-D-A official says the patch may not give these women enough of the pregnancy-preventing hormones.