Contraceptive Patch Worn For Seconds Could Prevent Pregnancy For Six Months
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A new contraceptive patch that could stop women getting pregnant for up to six months could be available in the future, removing the need to take a contraceptive pill every day.
It would certainly get rid of the need for people to do stuff like this...
Experts predict that the device will only need to be applied to the skin for a few seconds to be effective. During the application, micro-needles will be implanted under the woman's skin and release contraceptives into the body over a certain period of time.
The device would be safer for the body as the micro-needles would be completely pain-free, as well as being made from the same material used to make dissolvable stitches.
This method would - as mentioned - negate the need to take a one-per-day contraceptive pill, and also potentially prove more popular than a coil or implant, which must be implanted or injected by a doctor.
As to when this will be available, it's probably quite a way off yet. Tests have so far only been conducted on mice.
Professor Mark Prausnitz, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, told The Sun: "There is a lot of interest in providing more options for long-acting contraceptives.
"Our goal is for women to be able to self-administer long-acting contraceptives with the microneedle patch that would be applied to the skin for five seconds just once a month."
This technology is not only useful for contraceptive purposes. It also has implications as a safe and easy way for vaccinations to be performed.
Obviously, much more research must be done before the patch can be used as a form of contraception. They are pretty confident that it will eventually prove successful, though.
Prof. Prausnitz continued: "Because we are using a well-established contraceptive hormone, we are optimistic that the patch will be an effective contraceptive.
"We also expect that possible skin irritating at the site of patch application will be minimal, but these expectations need to be verified in clinical trials.
"There is a lot of interest in minimising the number of healthcare interventions that are needed.
"Therefore, a contraceptive patch lasting more than one month is desirable, particularly in countries where women have limited access to healthcare.
"But because microneedles are, by definition small, there are limits to how much drug can be incorporated into a patch."
The research Prausnitz and his team are doing is supported by Family Health International, whose spokesperson Gregory Kopf, said: "The microneedle patch is an exciting advancement in women's health.
"This self-administered, long-acting contraceptive will afford women discreet and convenient control over their fertility, leading to a positive impact on public health by reducing both unwanted and unintended pregnancies."
On top of that - and despite the fact that no cost has yet been set - it is thought that the product will be cheap enough to be used in the developing world.