A skin patch that provides a month’s worth of birth control for women is being developed by U.S. researchers.
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The patch, which can be pressed into an arm or leg, has dissolvable microneedles that implant into the skin and slowly dissolve over time, delivering a contraceptive hormone, NBC News reported.
No doctor visit is needed, according to the Georgia Tech team. Their research was published Jan. 14 in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.
“There is a lot of interest in providing more options for long-acting contraceptives,” Mark Prausnitz, a professor in the bioengineering program, said in a statement, NBC News reported.
“Our goal is for women to be able to self-administer long-acting contraceptives with the microneedle patch that would be applied for five seconds just once a month,” he explained.
The patch is based on a similar approach developed at Georgia Tech for needle-free vaccination, NBC News reported.
In rats, the press-on patch delivered an even flow of a month’s worth of birth control hormone, according to the researchers. It’s effectiveness in people hasn’t been tested, but animal tests don’t always pan out in humans.
The university is working with a spin-off company called Micron Biomedical to further develop the patch, Prausnitz said.
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