Developed contraceptives that can only be taken once a month


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Birth control pills are now considered one of the most popular remedies for unwanted pregnancies. According to statistics, 12% of women aged 15 to 49 in the US take oral contraceptives. But to be as effective as possible, they have to be taken every day without gaps. Unfortunately, given the rapid pace of life today, some people still forget to take pills, and in the end, about 9% of women who take birth control become pregnant. However, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have succeeded in producing tablets that need to be drunk only once a month. It is believed that, thanks to them, the likelihood of skipping pills is significantly reduced.

Authors of the study and the pills that they have created

According to MIT News, the active ingredients that prevent pregnancy remain the same. However, in this study, scientists included them in gelatin capsules attached to a biodegradable core that form a star shape. In the initial state, the capsules are collapsed, but when they get into the stomach, they open like an umbrella. For this reason, the capsules with contraceptives remain in the stomach and are released gradually over a month. As a result, women no longer need to take them daily but must be swallowed at the beginning of each month.

Appearance of the opened capsules. It looks scary

You can drink contraceptives once a month

In general, the gradual drug delivery technology is anything but new over time. Previously, researchers included antimalarial and HIV medicines in gelatine capsules, which also had to be taken daily without interruption. Later, the Bill Gates Foundation and his wife funded ongoing work on a long-lasting contraceptive. The reason for this was the result of a study that claimed that people remember better the frequency of taking medication that you need to drink weekly or monthly.

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Schematic representation of the working cycle of tablets

To achieve a gradual release of funds over the course of a month, researchers needed to use more durable materials that did not degrade in the stomach any longer than usual. Pig experiments have shown that new capsules with the addition of two special types of polyurethane can withstand up to four weeks in the acidic environment of the stomach. It is noteworthy that the concentration of porcine contraceptives each day was as if they received regular daily pills.

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During the dissolution of the active ingredients, the remains of the capsules and the nucleus are gradually removed from the body via the digestive tract. According to the author of the study, Robert Langer, the pills they make are unique and their effects last for a whole month.

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When exactly such medicines come on the market, is not yet known. However, scientists still have to do other studies and make sure that they are completely safe for humans. Then they have to wait for the approval of various regulators, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).