CINCINNATI—Women who have difficulty remembering to take birth control pills daily, or who want to spend less on contraceptives, may benefit from a new study at the University of Cincinnati (UC).
Researchers are testing the efficacy, safety and patient satisfaction of an investigational vaginal contraceptive ring that can be used for 13 cycles.
“What’s different about this ring compared with those currently on the market is that women use the same ring for 13 cycles instead of just one,” says Michael Thomas, MD, UC fertility expert and contraceptive researcher. “Women may find it more convenient to use than other contraceptives.”
The soft, flexible silicone rubber ring in this phase-3 study is just over two inches in diameter. It contains 150 mg of a new progestin (Nestorone) and 15 mg of ethinyl estradiol (a form of estrogen used in birth control pills). It suppresses monthly ovulation by providing a continuous, low-dose release of the hormones.
“This product is easy to insert and contains enough hormones to be effective for a year,” says Thomas.
Women leave the ring in their vagina for three weeks, and then take it out for one week to allow a menstrual cycle. This process repeats for 13 cycles, and then a new ring is needed.
“The ring doesn’t have to be removed for intercourse, and most male partners don’t complain of feeling the ring,” says Thomas. “It doesn’t interrupt sexual activity.”
Placebos will not be used in this study—all women will receive a ring with active hormones.
For more information on trial eligibility, visit www.researchforwomen.com or call (513) 584-4100.
The study is sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Development and the Population Council, which owns the Nestorone trademark and developed the ring.