Ovaprene, a new form of birth control, is being tested and would be the first barrier form of contraception to be released to the market since the internal condom in 2006. In recent years, most forms of contraception created are hormonal, including the birth control pill, the shot, the ring, and the patch. Hormonal forms of birth control have been dominating the market since the debut of the birth control pill in the 1960s. The hormones estrogen and progesterone are utilized to control the menstrual cycle through preventing ovulation and thickening cervical mucus.
Ovaprene is a small device that would be inserted in one’s vagina and it produces a chemical that immobilizes sperm as well as physically blocking the sperm from entering the cervix. It also would be the first barrier method that is capable of working for an entire month. At the end of 2019, there were initial test results that signaled that the device was able to successfully block sperm.
Having new barrier methods are important because there are individuals who cannot use hormonal birth control, such as those who have high blood pressure or smoke cigarettes due to increased risk of blood clots.
There are also some providers that recommend that individuals that have diabetes, migraines, or heart conditions should avoid certain hormonal methods. Further, there are some that do not want to use hormonal birth control methods because it could affect their menstrual cycles or may have unpleasant side effects, and may struggle to find a form of birth control that works best for them.
Those who do not use hormonal methods are left to decide between other barrier methods, copper IUDs, sterilization, natural family planning, or abstinence, so Ovaprene would be a new and welcome option for many individuals.
Ovaprene needs to undergo more clinical trials before it is presented to the FDA for approval. If the trails are positive and it is approved, Ovaprene will enter the market in 2023.
Source: Rewire News 2/11/20; Pharmaceutical Business Review 1/14/20; Global Newswire 11/12/19; Vox 6/25/19