Researchers are studying the effects of a contraceptive gel that could be used in place of pill contraceptives.

The gel is rubbed on the skin daily to prevent ovulation. Without ovulation, eggs are not matured and released and cannot be fertilized. The gel works in the same way as a contraceptive pill.

The phase 2 clinical trial of Nesterone / Estradiol is being conducted by Antares Pharma, Inc.; the developers of the contraceptive gel. The gel can be applied to the arms, shoulders, abdomen or thighs. It contains Estradiol and a progestin that works very similarly to progesterone. According to an oral report given by the director of clinical development (reproductive health), the gel works the same as a pill without causing weight gain and other common contraceptive side effects.

Eighteen women were included in the study. Three groups of six women were split up and give one of three doses of Nesterone / Estradiol – high, medium and low dose. The medium dose results included a “good ovarian suppression” which is why the group chose that concentration for the phase 3 study about to begin.

Few side effects were reported by the women and none by partners. The gel could be a viable alternative to a patch delivery system. Some women claim the patch can fall off easily and is visible to the eye. Women reported the gel was easy to apply and easy to remember.

Source: Ruth B. Merkatz, Régine Sitruk-Ware, Daniel R. Mishell, Vivian Brache, D. Taylor, and C. Jesam Gaete. Presented at the 66th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) in Denver, Colorado. 25 October, 2010.