New birth control gel could provide options

October 29, 2010 3:42:21 AM PDT
It is being hailed as a possible medical breathrough - contraception for women that's not a pill or a patch, but a gel.

And you only use a small amount, rubbed anywhere on your body, like arms or legs. But perhaps the best part, the manufactuer claims, is that there are few or no side effects.

"What this will enable women to do is to use it daily as part of their hygiene routine, if you like," said Dr. Paul Wotten from Antares Pharma.

Dr. Wotton and his team developed the product, called Nestorogel, a silky substance you can rub on your shoulders, arms, abdomen and thighs.

"I guess I'd use it, but like anything, I would look at what the side effects were," said one woman.

It works by delivering nestorone and natural estrogen that act as a barrier to ovaries releasing an egg each month.

Scientists right here in New York tested the product - a small study involving 18 women ages 20 and 30 who were sexually active, each rubbed in a standard dose, 1 pump of the gel, on their abdomen each day for 7 months. In the end, researchers say none of the women ovulated. Side effects are little if any.

"It's because the skin allows you to deliver the drug in a way that is more efficient and gets metabolized in a slightly different way them if you take an oral tablet," comments Dr. Wotton.

Researches plan to do more testing, larger studies involving thousands of women and if everything goes well, you could see this product on the market in 5 years.

While promising, Dr. Moritz, Director of Gynecology at St. Lukes Roosevelt says proceed with caution, recalling complications women experienced with another method, the patch.

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