Once-a-month birth control pill could be possible with innovative design

birth control ap
Image: Tiffany Hua/MIT

Scientists say they have made a breakthrough on developing a contraceptive pill that only needs to be taken once a month.

The star-shaped capsule could help reduce unintended pregnancies that arise from users forgetting to take their daily dose of the pill.

Tests conducted on pigs showed that the capsule could provide the same effect as taking daily doses. “We are hopeful that this work — the first example ever of a month-long pill or capsule to our knowledge — will someday lead to potentially new modalities and options for women’s health,” said Robert Langer, a MIT professor and co-author of the study.

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To make it work, researchers looked for materials that could survive a highly acidic fluid, and discovered that two types of polyurethane could work well for the arms and the central core of the star-shaped capsule. Once the capsule reaches the stomach, it expands and becomes lodged in place. The contraceptive drug, which is loaded in the pill, is then released at a controlled rate over time.

Related article:  Viewpoint: Male birth control pills won't make much difference if men aren't eager to use them

The capsule is designed to break down after three or four weeks, and will exit the body through the digestive tract.

Read full, original post: Scientists say a once-a-month birth control pill works on pigs. They want to test it on people next

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