The daily cream that could replace the pill

the_pillA revolutionary contraceptive body cream which could replace the Pill has been developed by scientists. (Pictured: The pill may become the thing of the past)

Women need only to rub a small amount of the gel into their arms, legs, shoulders or abdomen once a day to ensure they do not get pregnant. The cream has so far proved to be just as effective as the Pill. But crucially it does not cause the same side effects, such as weight gain, acne, moodiness, or headaches that affect 40 per cent of those who take the Pill.

Experts believe that for this reason it may prove popular with self-conscious girls and could ultimately help tackle the rising teenage pregnancy rate.

The cream, called Nestorone Estradial, may also be preferable for the many other women who dislike having to remember to take a pill once a day. They may find it far easier to rub in a small amount of contraceptive gel when they carry out their daily beauty regime. Unlike the Pill, the cream could be used by breastfeeding mothers as the hormones do not enter breast milk.

The clear gel, which has been developed by scientists in New York, contains a combination of the sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone – the chemicals found in most forms of the Pill. But it contains a different type of progesterone – called Nestorone – which in early trials caused far fewer side effects. It is quickly absorbed by the skin, with no residue, and oestrogen and progesterone are released into the blood. This interferes with the body’s normal patterns of production of oestrogen and progesterone to prevent pregnancy.

Experts believe the cream may prove popular with self-conscious girls. Women would need only to use a tiny amount of the cream at a time – a drop the size of two paracetamol capsules. As with the Pill, they would stop using it for one week in every month so they could have their period. In the UK, 3.5million women take the Pill but many stop using it because of the side effects. The cream has been developed at the Population Council research centre in New York and is expected to be widely available in the next few years.

Early trials on 18 women in their 20s and 30s over a three-month period have shown that it was just as effective as the Pill in preventing pregnancy. The research – presented yesterday at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s annual conference in Denver, Colorado – also shows that women prefer using it to other contraceptives. Dr Ruth Merkatz, from the Population Council, said: ‘From this small study we found it was effective in preventing pregnancy, but we need to test it over longer periods of time.’

Post published in: News

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