'Contraceptive earrings' may soon be used to prevent pregnancy

'Contraceptive earrings' may soon be used to prevent pregnancy by administering contraceptive hormones through tiny transdermal patches.
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Women wanting to avoid getting pregnant may soon just have to pop on some earrings rather than take a pill every day.

Scientists are developing a technique of administering contraceptive hormones through tiny transdermal patches on various types of jewellery, including earrings, necklaces, rings, and wristwatches.

The study is being conducted by a group at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who have published a report in The Journal of Controlled Release.

"We conclude that pharmaceutical jewellery can provide a novel method of drug delivery, especially for contraceptive hormones, that has the potential to improve acceptability and increase medication adherence," the report states.

Although the technique hasn't been tested on humans yet, it was "well tolerated" by rats.

The researchers removed the patches for eight hours a day, to mimic a human removing the jewellery during sleep. They say contraceptive levels dipped in the subjects during that time, but stayed "well above" the level required to stop a pregnancy.

"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," says Mark Prausnitz of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

"This technique could more effectively empower some women to prevent unintended pregnancies."

More testing needs to be conducted on the technology and there's no indication of when it might be ready for widespread use.