(Picture: SWNS)If you take the contraceptive pill, you face the difficulty of remembering to take it.
Missing two or more pills in a pack means your protection against pregnancy may be affected.
But what if preventing pregnancy involved putting on a pair of earrings every day instead?
Scientists at Georgia Institute of Technology have created adhesive patches that could be stuck to your jewellery to do just that.
We aren’t convinced remembering to put earrings in every day is actually easier than remember to taking a pill.
Lots of us have experienced the feeling of re-piercing your ears because you forgotten to wear any and the holes close over.
But it is good to have alternatives to the pill so everyone can find something that works for them.
There is a possibility the contraceptive could be added to watches, rings or necklaces too.
The idea is that a contraceptive patch is attached to the jewellery and the drug is absorbed into the body through the skin.
(Picture: Mark Prausnitz /SWNS)The earrings would be removed at night and the contraceptive patch would need to be changed periodically, probably about once a week.
The contraceptive technique has not yet been tested on humans but initial testing suggests it may be able to deliver sufficient amounts of hormone to prevent pregnancy.
So far it has been tested on pigs ears and hairless rats.
Test patches measuring about one square centimetre and containing the hormone levonorgestrel were mounted on earring backs and applied to the skin.
To simulate removal of the earrings during sleep, the researchers applied the patches for 16 hours, then removed them for eight hours.
Once in the skin, the drug can move into the bloodstream and circulate through the body.
(Picture: Mark Prausnitz /SWNS)Testing suggested that even though levels dropped while the earrings were removed, the patch could produce necessary amounts of the hormone in the bloodstream.
The earring patch consisted of three layers – one layer is impermeable and includes an adhesive to hold it onto an earring back, the underside of a watch or the inside surface of a necklace or ring.
Dr Mark Prausnitz, a Regents Professor and the J. Erskine Love Jr.Chair in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology said: ‘The more contraceptive options that are available, the more likely it is that the needs of individual women can be met.
‘Because putting on jewellery may already be part of a woman’s daily routine, this technique may facilitate compliance with the drug regimen. This technique could more effectively empower some women to prevent unintended pregnancies.
‘We are taking this established technology, making the patch smaller and using jewellery to help apply it.
‘We think contraceptive jewellery could be appealing and helpful to women all around the world.
(Picture: Mark Prausnitz /SWNS)‘The advantage of incorporating contraceptive hormone into a universal earring back is that it can be paired with many different earrings.
‘A woman could acquire these drug-loaded earring backs and then use them with various earrings she might want to wear.
‘We need to understand not only the effectiveness and economics of contraceptive jewellery, but also the social and personal factors that come into play for women all around the world.
‘We would have to make sure that this contraceptive jewellery concept is something that women would actually want and use.
‘Pharmaceutical jewellery introduces a novel delivery method that may make taking contraceptives more appealing. Making it more appealing should make it easier to remember to use it.’
He added: ‘We think there are uses beyond contraceptive hormones, but there will always be a limitation that the drug has to be effective with a low enough dose to fit into the limited space in the patch.
‘It also should be a drug that would benefit from continuous delivery from a patch and that is administered to a patient population interested in using pharmaceutical jewellery.’
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