Long-acting contraceptive patch gives women DIY option for birth control

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By Maggie Fox

Birth control that you have to remember every day (like pills) or every time (like condoms) doesn’t always work so well. It’s one of many reasons that 40 percent of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned.

Long-acting birth control such as implants and intrauterine devices, IUDS, are far more reliable, but they require a doctor visit and are not as popular.

A team at Georgia Tech has invented a patch that women can press into an arm or a leg and get a month’s worth of birth control — no doctor visit needed.

The patch uses dissolvable microneedles that implant into a user’s skin and slowly dissolve over time, delivering the hormone that is the basis of the most popular method of contraception, the team reports in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering. The technology is based on a similar approach developed by the university to make needle-free vaccines.