According to the World Health Organisation, it is a win-win situation when women can decide for themselves when they are ready to conceive. However, for those who are not ready to conceive, several contraceptives like a patch, intrauterine system, vaginal ring, and contraceptive injection exist. The least intrusive among them is a daily contraceptive pill; however, forgetting to take any of these pills can prove to be devastating, especially for a couple not ready to conceive. A survey shows that 39 to 65 % of women missed at least one dose in a period of three months.
Scientists have made a breakthrough in inventing a contraceptive that can be taken just once a month. A once-a-month birth control pill that works effectively on pigs is yet to prove its efficacy on humans. An assistant professor at Northeastern University, Ananya Bajpayee has been working towards developing a pill that can be taken once a month. She is conducting the research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Giovani Travero and Robert Langer.
They have designed the drug in such a way that it keeps on releasing contraceptives slowly in the stomach for weeks. Bajpayee says, “You need something that can stay inside the stomach for several weeks, but is strong enough that it can withstand the peristaltic wave forces that break down food and not degrade in the acidic gastric environment.”
It looks like a starfish-like organic device, folded into a pill. The pill unfolds inside the stomach as it is too big to fit in through the intestine. It has specific areas that enable the star to dissolve and get eliminated from the system. The experiment conducted on pigs showed that the contraceptive pill can be retained inside the body for 21 to 28 days.
The team has launched a new company called Lyndra Therapeutics to advertise the pill and commercialise it. This new drug looks forward to being of great aid to patients with HIV and those who rely on oral contraceptives that do not have to be taken daily.