The truth is obvious; overpopulation is causative to might as well every other problem that the world is facing; name it from inflation, poverty, or something as simple as the quality of the air you breathe. That’s what happens when we attempt to act like we have infinite resources from a finite source. Naturally, the exponential rate of human reproduction and the exponential need to satisfy the population is becoming too harmful to neglect.
In turn, government and non-government agencies have advocated family planning practices to mitigate the fast-paced human reproduction; one of which are contraceptives. In a growing family of 5 who earns just along with the minimum wage, it is irresponsible not to take any precaution. But contraceptives don’t only work for people who are economically strained; they also do well in terms of a person’s health like for women who already had four children or more, or people who have HIV/AIDS.
In the United States, women as young as 15 years old to women at 49 years old practice family planning according to the National Survey of Family Growth in 2017. These women usually use contraceptives in the forms of female sterilization and oral contraceptive pills. But throughout the years, there have been many other forms that have been made available in the market like condoms, implants, injections, patches, and coils.
However, contraceptive pills only work when you follow a set method of practice. Individually, these pills should be taken preferably at the same time every day. By not doing so, non-adherence could lead to, ironically, unwanted pregnancies which completely defeats the purpose. Women are not robots that are likely to take the daily pill at the same time every day, and sometimes they might also forget to do so. This leads to breaking the standard 30-day set and having to buy another one, which overall is not cost-effective.
The realization with the issue between behavior and contraceptives led researchers to seek other ways to let women jump on board the family planning train. In this case, the new solution is quite creative. Journal of Controlled Release suggested that women wear jewelry, but not just the usual pieces you use to accessorize alone.
In essence, the jewelry functions as a contraceptive through skin patches. Skin patches are widely used as a method to give medications to prevent motion sickness, support smoking cessation, as well as controlling symptoms of menopause. But the patches in these earrings are infused with contraceptive hormones.
Like a cigarette patch, you can stick the contraceptive patch to pieces of jewelry that you often use. These skin patches are composed of three different layers. One layer is impermeable and sticky to attach the patch onto the earring or the underside of the wristwatch or the inner side of the ring or necklace. The middle layer contains the contraceptive drug while the third layer is a skin adhesive that helps stick the patch to the skin firmly.
Through the close contact of the skin patches glued to the back of the earrings, the contraceptive hormones could easily penetrate the skin and absorbed into the body. Aside from earrings, they have also suggested the use of a necklace, wristwatch, and rings.
Among these pieces of jewelry, researchers said that the earrings and wristwatches might be the most useful and effective in giving drugs because they remain in close contact with the skin which will facilitate better absorption of the drug.
The dose of the drug in the skin patches is proportional to the area of skin contact, so the more extensive the skin contact, the higher the dose. This concept is vital in considering the use of skin patches to administer drugs other than contraceptive hormones since only those skin-permeable drugs needed in small quantities will show significant efficacy.
To prove the claim Postdoctoral Fellow Mohammad Mofidfar and Senior Research Scientist Laura O’Farrell and Prausnitz tested it with a pig’s ear and with hairless rats. They attached a contraceptive skin patch for 16 hours, and sufficient amounts of protective hormones were still found after 8 hours upon removing the piece. In other words, they will still work quite effectively after removing your jewelry.
Moreover, it is also advantageous for women that these patches are not changed every day, but rather only once a week and it could be transferred from one earring to another depending on what women would want to wear.
However, given that skin patches have long been established to be safe and effective, testing on human subjects with this innovative product is still needed before entirely being manufactured for the masses. But the breakthrough for more creative means of administering contraceptives for women opens a brand new door to control population growth without the excessive need to be constantly aware of the daily pill that most women in society have grown fondly of.