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Long-Acting Contraceptive Designed to be Self-Administered Via Microneedle Patch

A new long-acting contraceptive Patch designed to be self-administered by women. This may provide a new family planning option, particularly in developing nations where access to health care can be limited, a recent study suggests. So the daily contraceptive pill could be replaced by a patch used just once a month. This patch injects contraceptive drug via microneedles and the effect lasts a month - originally developed for the painless administration of vaccines.

The small round sticker, the size of a quarter, is lined with biodegradable microneedles containing the contraceptive hormone levonorgestrel.

After five seconds on a user's arm, the needles break away and remain under the surface of the skin to slowly release the drug then dissolve.

Early stage trials in mice, described in a new study published today, showed the needles dissolved safely, and the device successfully boosted levels of hormones needed to prevent pregnancy.

The researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology say the method could be a game changer for women in developing countries where it is harder to get hold of long-acting contraception because access to doctors is limited and inconsistent.

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