Georgia Tech researchers have created a low-cost contraceptive patch for women that just takes seconds to use and offers protection for a month.
"Our objective was to have something that can be long acting but also something that could be self-administered by a woman herself," says Mark Prausnitz, professor in Georgia Tech's School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
When the patch is applied for several seconds, microscopic needles break off on the surface of the skin and administer the contraceptive drug levonorgestrel over a period of time. Prausnitz says it's easy, "press the patch to the skin, wait five seconds, pull it off and they are done for a month." The patch's backing can be discarded once the microscopic needles break off into the skin.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that during the most recent period (2010–2014), an estimated 44% of pregnancies worldwide were unintended. This translates to a rate of 62 unintended pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15–44, a decrease from 74 per 1,000 women in 1990–1994.
He says it's expected to be as effective as and IUD or implant. So far, it's only been tested in rats, no human trials. He says it'll be at least five years before it's on the market.
They also said they're hoping to create a patch that could be applied every six months.