Your everyday accessory may have a new use.
Earrings are an item of jewellery that many women put on every day and soon it could also help prevent unwanted pregnancies.
A new way for women to take hormonal contraception is currently being tested by scientists and it could be as simple as putting on an earring.
In a report published in the Journal of Controlled Release, scientists from Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new technique for administering contraceptive hormones through jewellery such as earrings, rings and necklaces.
It works by containing the hormones in tiny patches that can be applied to pieces of jewellery that will come into contact with skin, which in turn will allow the drugs to be absorbed into the body; two words, how easy?
The goal is to create a new technique and option for people who need to take regular dosages of medication.
Mark Prausnitz of Georgia Institute of Technology explains, “The more contraceptive options that are available, the more likely it is that the needs of individual women can be met.
“Because putting on jewellery may already be part of a woman’s daily routine, the technique may facilitate compliance with the drug regimen. This technique could more effectively empower some women to prevent unintended pregnancies.”
The contraceptive jewellery patch is adapted from transdermal patch technology that is already popularly used to administer drugs that help with motion sickness and support people who are quitting smoking.
Earring with transdermal patch backing which contains the contraceptive hormone.
In fact contraceptive patches are readily available across the world already (however not in New Zealand), but Prausnitz believes pairing it with jewellery could make it more discreet and more attractive to some women.
“Pharmaceutical jewellery introduces a novel delivery method that may make contraceptives more appealing,” Prausnitz says. “Making it more appealing should make it easier to remember to use it.”
While it has not yet been tested on humans, initial trials seem promising and it sounds pretty good to us.
So while we wait for effective male oral contraceptive to arrive, if you’re someone who currently takes oral contraception, could you see yourself reaching for the jewellery over a pill?