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The scientists from Stanford University, California have uncovered what they call a ‘promising’ birth control alternative to the Pill, which must be taken every day and at the same time.
The study saw patients using a combination of the morning-after pill and a drug typically used to treat arthritis in order to ‘disrupt ovulation at peak fertility.’
During the study, nine women aged 18-35 were administered a one-time dose of 30 mg of ulipristal acetate, a morning-after pill, as well as 30 mg of meloxicam, the arthritis drug, in the days leading up to ovulation when it is most difficult to delay.
When using the drugs as required, orally just before sex, the combination ‘may be the best candidate’ for a birth control option.
The study found that ovulation was disrupted in six of the nine women, while eight of them were said to have incomplete ovulation.
Some side effects of this new contraceptive combination included increased menstrual cycles by three days and decreased levels of the hormone progesterone.
The ‘promising’ results discovered that the new contraceptive can interrupt ovulation ‘when conception risk is highest’ - during the luteal phase - but the experts also explained that more research is necessary before the manufacturing of this contraceptive can begin.
Currently, the only ‘on-demand’ contraceptives which are available in the UK are condoms, diaphragms, plus the hormone-free Phexxi gel in the US.
In the UK, women also have access to emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if their regular contraception has failed - for example, if the condom split or they have forgotten to take their pill.
These include the morning-after pill - Levonelle or ellaOne, or the intrauterine device (IUD).
For advice on accessing emergency contraception, head to the NHS website here.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock/Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition
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