There are as many reasons to take oral contraceptives as there are people who take them. Whether you want to control your acne or keep your sex safe, you've probably accepted the biggest downside to the Pill: needing to take it consistently every day. Thanks to some researchers at MIT, however, that could be changing soon.
Results on testing a once-a-month oral contraceptive came out this week, and while they're not human trials, they are promising. The potential new Pill comes in a gel capsule that contains a star-shaped mechanism that releases a contraceptive drug over the course of a few weeks. Tests of the capsules on pigs found that the levels of the contraceptive in the bloodstream were both constant and the same as what it would be using a daily pill.
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There are, of course, already other long-term options for birth control serving people with uteruses. That includes patches which deliver contraceptive hormones through the skin, injections and subcutaneous devices, and the IUD, which is implanted in the uterus itself. But for anyone who prefers a pill, this new system could make the contraceptive even more effective, by removing the possibility of accidentally skipping a day.
Even if you don't take oral contraceptives, you might start seeing this long-release drug delivery system in other medicines going forward. The "starfish" design from MIT originally began as an effort to treat malaria and HIV, and could be applied to numerous other courses of treatment. It's early days yet, but it could be the future of you saving tons on your prescriptions. (Until then, check out GoodRx to keep your pharmacy costs lower.)