Contraceptive devices: subcutaneous delivery systems

Expert Review of Medical Devices
G BenagianoM Farris


Ever since natural sex hormones have been identified, their structure defined and their synthesis achieved, it became clear that their circulating half-life was too short to allow use in therapy. One of the modalities most thoroughly investigated to prolong their duration of action is to embed them in a polymeric matrix and administer them subcutaneously. Research and development activities of devices to be inserted under the skin have focused upon two modalities: the first utilizes the so-called nonbiodegradable devices, in which the matrix is fixed and the drug is made available through diffusion. In the second, biodegradable devices, the matrix dissolves during the process and both the active compound and the matrix components reach the circulation. Although a number of biodegradable systems have been investigated in the form of polymeric rod or micropellets, so far no system has reached the marketplace. Several matrices have been evaluated: poly(ortho esters), (polylactic-polyglycolic acid)co-polymers, poly-(epsilon-caprolactone). In the case of nonbiodegradable systems, several have been in widespread use for years. The first such system, Norplant 1, consists of six capsules delivering levonorgestrel and lasts a minimum of...Continue Reading


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