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New contraceptive options are in the pipeline.

ATLANTA -- Novel contraceptives currently being developed include norprogesterone-derived progestins, new barrier methods, and combination spermicides-microbicides, Dr. Michelle Fox said at a conference on contraceptive technology sponsored by Contemporary Forums.

Closest to approval is a daily oral contraceptive pill that contains 90 mcg levonorgestrel and 20 mcg ethinyl estradiol. The product (Lybrel) has no hormone-free period and has shown favorable bleeding patterns in clinical trials, said Dr. Fox, director of family planning at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

New progestins are being derived from 19-norprogesterone, which is not androgenic and may better inhibit ovulation. One such product, Nestorone, is being developed by the Population Council. Nestorone-based combined hormonal vaginal rings and spray-on contraceptives are being developed.

New barrier methods being evaluated include a one-size silicone diaphragm that would not require individual fitting and a more comfortable female condom.

Nonoxynol-9, the only spermicide available in the United States, is considered safe for most users, but it is a detergent that disrupts epithelial surfaces. A recent study suggested that frequent use of nonoxynol-9 by sex workers could increase the risk of HIV transmission in high-risk women.

Buffer-based spermicides under development inhibit sperm by maintaining the acidic environment of the vagina. They also have been shown to inhibit multiple STIs in animal models. One product, Acid-form, forms a protective bioadhesive coating over the cervix and vagina, and can be applied up to 10 hours before intercourse.

A new surfactant product that causes less irritation than nonoxynol-9 is being evaluated in a phase III trial.


Contributing Writer
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Title Annotation:Women's Health
Author:Tanzola, Melinda
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2007
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