19815 Bay Branch Rd
Andalusia, Alabama 36420
(334) 222-2523
HELPLINE: 1-877-530-0002



SCAMHC is an approved Mental Health site for the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment program.  Find out the program details and see if you qualify by visiting: http://nhsc.hrsa.gov/

SCAMHC is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer and maintains a Drug-Free Workplace





powered by centersite dot net
Women's Health
Basic InformationLatest News
When Arteries Narrow, Chest Pain Can Come Earlier for Women Than MenRacial, Ethnic Gaps in Insurance Put Moms, Babies at Risk: StudyStatins Might Reduce Harms From Breast Cancer ChemoExpectant Moms: Take Care and Don't Panic About CoronavirusGene Tests May Guard Older Breast Cancer Patients Against Other TumorsAHA News: Changing the Way We View Women's Heart Attack SymptomsMaria Shriver Sounds the Alarm on Women and Alzheimer'sAHA News: Estrogen Therapy in Early Menopause May Help Keep Arteries ClearDon't Wait, for Your Baby's Sake: Quit Smoking Before You're PregnantFemale Firefighters Face Higher Exposure to CarcinogensNew Moms Need to Watch Out for High Blood PressureBad Sleep, Bad Diet = Bad Heart?A Woman's Guide to Skin Care During and After MenopauseAHA News: What Women Need to Know About Breast Cancer and Heart DiseaseIs High Blood Pressure in First Pregnancy a Harbinger of Heart Trouble?AHA News: Domestic Abuse May Do Long-Term Damage to Women's Health'Couch Potato' Lifestyle Poses Danger to Women's HeartsWomen Patients Still Missing in Heart Research2 in 3 Women Unhappy With Their Breast Size. Could That Harm Their Health?Pregnant Moms Who Smoke, Drink Put Babies at Risk of SIDS: Study2 in 3 Americans Unaware That Heart Disease Is Leading Killer of WomenEmployers Need to Do More to Help Breastfeeding Moms: SurveyStrong Support Network Is Key to Women's Cancer Recovery: StudyCervical Cancer Could All But Disappear in North America by 2040Pregnancy, Breastfeeding May Guard Against Early MenopauseMany Moms-to-Be Are Stressed, and it Might Affect Baby's BrainLess Sex Could Mean Earlier MenopauseWomen's Blood Pressure Rises Earlier, Faster Than Men'sTrauma of Miscarriage May Trigger PTSDA Lifetime of Fitness Helps Women's Muscles in Old AgeLarge Study Shows No Strong Link Between Baby Powder, Ovarian CancerVictoria's Secret Models Are Skinnier Now, as Average Woman's Waistline WidensMany Girls, Young Women Getting Unnecessary Pelvic ExamsAI Beat Humans in Spotting Breast TumorsBreast Density Alerts Might Not Be Helping WomenHealth Tip: Breast Cancer Screening GuidelinesShedding Pounds May Shrink Breast Cancer RiskMost Long-Term Breast Cancer Survivors Die From Other CausesNew Study Shakes Up Thinking on Hormone Replacement TherapyBreast Cancer Drug Shows Long-Lasting Prevention PowerBreastfeeding May Bring Added Bonus for Women With MSAre Superbugs Making Themselves at Home in Your Makeup Bag?Health Tip: Heart Attack Symptoms in WomenIs Childbirth More Dangerous in Rural Areas?Good Workouts Might Extend a Woman's LifeDomestic Abuse Can Leave Legacy of Poor HealthMom-to-Be's Diabetes May Up Odds of Heart Disease in Her KidsStudy Links Hair Straighteners, Dyes to Breast CancerA Birth Control Pill You Take Just Once a Month?Birth Control Pill May Alter Part of Women's Brains
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook ReviewsSelf-Help Groups
Related Topics

Wellness and Personal Development
Mental Disorders

A Birth Control Pill You Take Just Once a Month?

HealthDay News
by By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Dec 4th 2019

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists have developed a method that might eventually allow women to take birth control pills just once a month.

In lab experiments, the researchers found that their tiny drug-delivery device -- contained within a gelatin-coated capsule -- worked as hoped: In pigs, it remained in the stomach, slowly releasing the birth control hormone levonorgestrel for up to one month.

Much work remains before it's ready for human use. But the goal, the researchers said, is to give women an oral contraceptive option that is easier to take -- and potentially more effective.

Traditional birth control pills have to be taken daily, which can be difficult. Surveys have shown that nearly half of women on "the pill" missed at least one dose in the previous three months, or took their pills at the wrong time.

Imperfect use means the pill does not always work. On average, the method is 91% effective at preventing pregnancy, according to Planned Parenthood.

"Certainly one of the theoretical benefits of this drug-delivery system is that it could maximize the efficacy of [birth control pills], because it doesn't depend on daily use," said senior researcher Dr. Giovanni Traverso, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

That has yet to be shown. But Lyndra Therapeutics, a company founded by Traverso and others, recently received a $13 million grant from the Gates Foundation to further the development of the approach and move it into human studies.

The current findings were published online Dec. 4 in Science Translational Medicine.

Right now, women in wealthier countries have a number of contraception options besides the pill -- including reversible, long-acting ones. Those methods -- intrauterine devices (IUDs) and contraceptive implants -- are highly effective at preventing pregnancy. But they have to be inserted by a health care professional, which can be a barrier.

A once-monthly pill could be especially useful in developing countries, where health care resources are scarce, according to Traverso.

It would be "easily used, self-controlled and low-profile," he said.

But even in countries like the United States, Traverso said, a long-acting pill could appeal to many women who want an oral form of birth control that is more convenient.

An expert not involved in the study emphasized the importance of choice.

"What we know for sure is that birth control isn't one-size-fits-all," said Dr. Gillian Dean, senior medical director of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

"It's important that we continue to conduct research on new methods that will expand the range of options available, so that people can pick what works best for their lifestyle and body," Dean said.

The current study builds on previous work by the MIT researchers, looking at ways to deliver daily medications -- including those for HIV and malaria -- on a monthly basis.

The centerpiece is a tiny star-shaped device that is placed in a gelatin-coated capsule so it can be swallowed. Once in the stomach, the capsule dissolves to reveal the device, whose "arms" expand so that it's too big to pass into the small intestine.

It stays in the stomach -- "floating freely," Traverso said -- and gradually releases levonorgestrel over time. In tests with pigs, the device released fairly constant levels of the hormone for up to four weeks. In contrast, levonorgestrel given by standard tablets only lasted a day.

The researchers will continue to study the safety of the approach in animals, Traverso said. In order to translate it to humans, the device will be designed to break down after three to four weeks, then be expelled through the digestive tract. The researchers are working on ways to trigger the device arms to snap off -- via changes in pH or temperature, for instance.

Scientists are working on other ways to expand women's contraception options.

A study published last month in Science Advances reported on early work into a patch that could provide birth control for a month or more. The patch is pressed against the skin for a minute, leaving behind an array of "micro-needles" under the skin that contain levonorgestrel. The needles biodegrade over time, slowly releasing the contraceptive into the blood.

More information

Planned Parenthood has more on birth control methods.