Pregnancy :: Next-generation contraceptive patch by Agile Therapeutics

Agile Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical development company focused on innovative transdermal products, is developing the next generation of contraceptive patches, one that is designed to deliver low doses of birth control hormones over a seven-day period.

Birth control pills deliver their hormone dose to the liver, which removes as much as it is able before the remainder goes into the bloodstream. An important benefit of the contraceptive patch is that it delivers the estrogen and progesterone hormones it contains directly into the bloodstream, smoothing out the rate at which hormones are delivered, without the peak doses to the liver that the pill entails.

The contraceptive patch, which is worn for seven days, is designed especially for women who have a hard time remembering to take a daily pill. As Sean Hennessy, pharmacology professor at the University of Pennsylvania and member of the FDA’s drug safety committee, told the Philadelphia Inquirer in an article published on March 5, 2006: “Patches improve compliance, particularly for people who have to take medication several times a day or for people who forget.”

“There’s a critical need for the development of birth control options that deliver lower doses of hormones while also being convenient to use,” said Dr. Hal Broderson, M.D., Agile’s Chief Medical Officer. “We’re working with the FDA and conducting clinical trials to establish the safety and efficacy profile of this new product so we can bring its benefits to contraceptive users.”

Transdermal patches have been used successfully and safely to deliver a broad variety of medicines to improve cardiovascular, reproductive, and neurological health.

“Transdermal patches can have different designs but are meant to deliver drugs across the skin using passive diffusion,” said Bozena B. Michniak-Kohn, who studies transdermal patch delivery at the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials at Rutgers University’s Busch campus. “The drug diffuses out of the patch and through the skin into the bloodstream. This method of drug delivery has been widely proven to be a safe and convenient means of taking medicines. The matrix delivery system used by Agile represents the current generation of transdermal technology.”

Reproductive health advocates and women’s health advocates were encouraged by the results of the first phase of clinical trials for the Agile low-dose contraceptive patch, which achieved a success rate comparable to the pill in suppressing ovulation in the women who completed the trial.

“A low-dose patch would be a welcomed addition to the contraceptive choices available to women today,” said Dr. Sheldon Segal, M.D., of the Population Council and member of Agile Therapeutics’ Scientific Advisory Board. “Lower doses of estrogen could result in a better side effect profile.”

About Agile Therapeutics

Agile Therapeutics, Inc. is a pharmaceutical product development company founded in 1997 based on developing novel pharmaceutical products utilizing its proprietary transdermal drug delivery technology.

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