The link between Pfizer’s Depo-Provera and HIV isn’t new. In the early days of HIV research, scientists looked at every factor they could think of that might increase infection risk. Of course, behavioral factors like intravenous drug use generated a lot of interest. But other researchers went further afield, looking at everything from insect bites, to human urine, and hormonal contraceptive use. Although most of these factors were dismissed, the injectable hormonal contraceptive DMPA, a progestin-only based method that goes by the name of Depo-Provera, continued to raise concerns. In 1998, for instance, researchers wrote that women who use DMPA exhibit higher rates of HIV infection. But like many others, this study was based on observations, and was easily overlooked. Today, we don’t know much more. A 2013 review of the observational data estimates that DMPA might be associated with 48 to 100 percent increase in HIV acquisition risk. That would mean an additional … [Read more...] about Will we ever know if this widely-used contraceptive increases the risk of HIV infection?
Now science is on a path to end the battle over contraceptives with a simple ulcer medicine. It's called misoprostol, created by G.D. Searle. Searle first gained financial prominence as the maker of Enovid, the first oral contraceptive. (I got the picture here from an Internet pharmacy which has the drug for sale under Searle's brand name, Cytotec.) Misoprostol's use as a "morning after" pill was pioneered in Brazil, but it has other uses as well. In the U.S., for instance, it is frequently used to induce labor. (The illustration shows its use against ulcers, frequently caused by over-use of NSAIDs like aspirin.) Misoprostol is often taken alongside mifepristone, also known as RU-486, as a "morning after" pill. Because mifepristone has no other uses, however, it's not a real revolution. Nor, for that matter, is Plan B, recently approved for over-the-counter use by the FDA, or even ella, recently approved for prescription use, which may be effective for several days after sex. You may … [Read more...] about Can science end the contraceptive wars?
If you could have safe, effective, long-term birth control that you didn't have to think about, would you jump at the chance? That's what's being proposed by a company called MicroCHIPS of Lexington Massachusetts -- in the form of a chip to be implanted under the skin.The chip, just 20 x 20 x 7 millimetres, is designed to last up to 16 years -- about half of a woman's reproductive lifespan -- delivering a daily dose of 30mcg of levonorgestrel, used in several hormonal contraceptives and emergency contraceptives. In the event a couple wants to conceive, the woman can use a remote control to turn the chip off, and then back on again when she needs to.The implications of the technology go beyond contraceptives. Inside the chip is a reservoir array which contains and protects the hormone. In these reservoirs, however, any drug could be placed, to be released on demand, or according to a pre-programmed schedule. Related articles Tooth sensor stops you from lying to your dentist … [Read more...] about Remote-controlled chip could be the future of contraceptives
Around the world, technology is being deployed as a tool to try to teach girls to use contraception. More specifically, a program using an "infant simulator" (or robotic baby) is used to teach teen girls about the harsh realities of motherhood. Over the last decade, the use of this program has exploded -- it's now in 89 countries. But a new study published today in The Lancet reveals that the robo-babies aren't working as hoped.A study that followed 2,834 girls from 57 randomly selected schools in the state of Western Australia found that girls who participated in this program had significantly higher rates of pregnancy."Our study shows that the pregnancy prevention programme delivered in Western Australia, which involves an infant simulator, does not reduce the risk of pregnancy in teenage girls. In fact, the risk of pregnancy is actually increased compared to girls who didn't take part in the intervention," said lead author Sally Brinkman of the University of Western Australia … [Read more...] about Robo-baby contraception attempt leads to increase in teen pregnancy rates
A contraceptive app has been reported to a medical regulator in Sweden after being blamed for 37 unwanted pregnancies. The Natural Cycles app, which has nearly 700,000 users worldwide, is designed to work by scanning women's body temperature during their menstrual cycle to inform them when they can have unprotected sex. Those days show up in green on a calendar. On the days marked in red, couples are advised to use other contraceptive methods such as condoms. Last year, Natural Cycles released a study it funded stating that the app was more effective than the contraceptive pill. Södersjukhuset hospital in Stockholm reported Natural Cycles to the Swedish Medical Products Agency -- a government body that regulates medical devices -- after 37 women who used the app sought abortions at the hospital from September 2017 to the end of the year, according to Swedish outlet SVT."No contraception is 100 percent effective, and unwanted pregnancies is an unfortunate risk … [Read more...] about Contraceptive app reportedly led to 37 unwanted pregnancies