Eat contraceptive for a month at a time? It's a long way from success, but it's really interesting.
Eat contraceptive for a month at a time? It's a long way from success, but it's really interesting.
Capsule blossoms (

there is a news about eating contraceptive for a month this week, from a paper published on Science Translational Medicine [1].

the first thing to note is that this is too early for application, and this time only the preliminary test results in the animal model have been published. But as a pharmacy major, I'm actually interested in the way researchers achieve oral drug release for a long time-- when I look at the paper, it's really fun, and the idea is actually quite simple.

an important factor limiting the effective time of oral drugs is the time they stay in the digestive tract, so if you want to work for a long time, you have to find a way to stay in the digestive tract. The drug delivery system has "arms" made of six polymers, which are held together by an elastic core that can be folded and stuffed into capsules for oral use. When the capsule shell melts, the six-claw structure automatically unfolds, so that the device becomes larger (5.4cm diameter after expansion) and does not go further down the pylorus, but stays in the stomach for longer. Each "arm" consists of two layers of polymer structure, the outer one is responsible for maintaining the structure, and the inside contains drugs that can be released slowly. The main test this time is to add the contraceptive levonorgestrel, but other types of drugs can also be added.

(specifically, this is the diagram in the paper)

at present, this is a relatively preliminary study, and the researchers have only conducted preliminary tests on pharmacokinetics in large animal models (pigs). And they have not really designed the mechanism to control the regular discharge of the drug release system from the stomach. It can only be said that for now, the part from eating to keeping the drug released for a month is probably feasible.

speaking of the bizarre contraceptives under development, another one was published on Science Advance some time ago. That is a kind of microneedle patch, on a small patch neatly arranged with a lot of small "needles" containing drugs (made of biodegradable materials), affixed to the skin to press these needles and patches to detach, stay in the skin to slowly release the drug. These tiny needles are said to cause no pain and are eventually degraded and disappeared by the body. And the way to detach the microneedles from the patch is really interesting-using an effervescent agent, just like the essential ingredients used in effervescent tablets. It is said that the microneedle pierced the upper layer of the skin and came into contact with the moist environment, the effervescent part of the root of the microneedle began to produce carbon dioxide bubbles, and then the needle fell off.

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(this is the image of the in vitro test in the paper)

Why there are so many kinds of female contraceptives, but still these strange things are being developed? The reason is that current contraceptives are still not perfect (although women's contraceptive is much more mature than men's contraceptive, it's a struggle for men to develop contraceptive). The oral version is convenient for personal use, and the effect is very good in theory, but the problem of missing medication often affects the actual effect; the version of injection and subcutaneous implantation can be administered for a long time, and the effect is very reliable, but you need to find a professional doctor to operate it, and many women can't get it. So people still want to develop a way of drug administration that can satisfy themselves at the same time and can be effective for a long time.

at present, the most common drugs on the market are generally those mediocre dosage forms, but there are also some very interesting dosage forms that are already in use and can be explained in detail later.


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