Have you heard of contraceptive jewellery? Well researchers have developed a  ‘technique for administering contraceptive hormones through special backings on jewellery such as earrings, wristwatches, rings or necklaces. The contraceptive hormones are contained in patches applied to portions of the jewellery in contact with the skin, allowing the drugs to be absorbed into the body. Beyond contraceptives, the jewellery-based technique might also be used for delivering other drugs through the skin.

“The earring patch tested by the researchers consisted of three layers. One layer is impermeable and includes an adhesive to hold it onto an earring back, the underside of a wristwatch or the inside surface of a necklace or ring. A middle layer of the patch contains the contraceptive drug in solid form. The outer layer is a skin adhesive to help stick to skin so the hormone can be transferred. Once in the skin, the drug can move into the bloodstream and circulate through the body.

If the technique ultimately is used for contraception in humans, the earring back would need to be changed periodically, likely on a weekly basis.”

“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. “Because putting on jewelry 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.”

“Testing to date implies that the contraceptive jewelry may deliver sufficient amounts of hormone to provide contraception, though no human testing has been done yet. A goal for the new technique is to improve user compliance with drug regimens that require regular dosages.

Contraceptive jewellery adapts transdermal patch technology that is already used to administer drugs that prevent motion sickness, support smoking cessation, and control the symptoms of menopause, but have never been incorporated into jewellery before. Contraceptive patches are also already available, but Prausnitz believes pairing them with jewellery may prove attractive to some women — and allow more discreet use of the drug delivery technology.

The contraceptive jewellery was originally designed for use in developing countries where access to health care services may limit access to long-acting contraceptives such as injectables, implants and IUDs. However, Prausnitz says the technology may be attractive beyond that initial audience. “We think contraceptive jewellery could be appealing and helpful to women all around the world”

Source: Georgia Institute of Technology. “Contraceptive jewelry could offer a new family planning approach.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190326105705.htm>.

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