Researchers have found a unique way of administering contraceptive hormones via ornamental jewelry. The hormones are contained in adhesive patches, that, once in contact with the skin, are absorbed into the body.
A report published in the Journal of Controlled Release explored the idea of contraception via jewelry. The technique features administering drugs/hormones through special patches on the back of jewelry items such as earrings, wristbands, wristwatches or ring. Once the patch is in contact with the skin, the hormones are absorbed into the body via diffusion.
The ‘transdermal patch technology’ is already used to treat motion sickness, smoking withdrawal and control the symptoms of menopause, however, it has never been incorporated with jewelry. The technique focuses on providing an easy way of contraception and allow discreet delivery of drugs.
According to Mark Prausnitz, a Regents Professor ad 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.”
He further added, “We are taking this established technology, making the patch smaller and using jewelry to help apply it. We think that earring patches can expand the scope of transdermal patches to provide additional impact”.
The technique has been tested in animals – pigs and rats. The patches – containing hormone levonorgestrel – were attached to the skin of hairless rats. To cater for removing earrings at night, the patches were applied for 16 hours and then removed for 8. The results suggested that even the hormone levels dropped, there was sufficient amount of the drug in the bloodstream.
The patch consisted of three layers:
- Impermeable and adhesive to attach to the earring back
- Contains contraceptive in solid form
- Adhesive to stick to the skin
Initially designed for use in under-developed countries, the patch can be used for a larger audience. Prausnitz says, “We think contraceptive jewelry could be appealing and helpful to women all around the world”