The painless microneedle patch provides reliable contraception for a whole month

A research team from Georgia Tech has developed a new modification of medical patches that are intended for contraception. The product uses microneedles and minimizes the risk of pregnancy for a month after use. You don't need a doctor for this, any woman can protect herself in a matter of minutes.

Such plasters have been used for decades in a row, their principle of action is well known and everything depends only on the medicine with which the microneedles are charged. Vessels with sharp ends penetrate the skin and inject microscopic doses of the substance, or they themselves are made from it and gradually dissolve under the skin. These patches are used to inject insulin, influenza vaccines, antibiotics, cancer drugs, and now the drug levonorgestrel.

The credit for the scientists at Georgia Tech is that they have achieved long-term exposure to the working substance. In their design, the base of the needles is very fragile; air bubbles are deliberately left in the glass. It is worth pushing harder and they break, and the polymer additive slows down their decomposition in the body and the assimilation of the working substance. As a result, the contraceptive effect is obtained not one-time, but extended in time for several weeks.

The developers of the patch say they have taken a well-known, proven and safe contraceptive. In experiments on mice, they found that an array of hundreds of microneedles is enough to create and maintain the required level of the drug in the body for at least a month. The patch is absolutely painless and does not create cosmetic defects from use. A version with a contraceptive for humans will be created in the near future.