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Female contraceptives continue to lack safe therapeutics: Report

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | January 15, 2024 02:36 PM

NEW DELHI: The current unmet needs in the female contraceptives market are similar to those that were present 10 years ago. The market still lacks therapeutics that provide better safety, according to a report.

At present, marketed contraceptives carry the risk of irregular bleeding patterns, weight gain, changes in mood, depression, migraine or headache, nausea and acne.

Side effects are one of the main reasons why patients may decide to discontinue contraceptive use, leading to unintended pregnancies.

The report by GlobalData, a data and analytics company, showed that some women are hesitant to take hormonal contraceptives because of the associated side effects.

The unmet need for non-hormonal contraception is a significant concern for individuals who wish to avoid hormonal contraceptives for several reasons, such as side effects, personal preferences or religious beliefs.

"Access to contraceptive methods also remains a challenge in most countries. While contraceptives may be approved and launched, they may or may not be covered by insurance companies. If they are not covered, many patients are not able to afford them," said Shireen Mohammad, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders Analyst at GlobalData, in a statement.

"Finally, awareness of different contraceptive methods has room to improve, since many patients and providers are unaware of many of the currently marketed forms of contraception and how to insert them if they require a device," Mohammad added.

Compliance and adherence are other major unmet needs in the contraceptives market. Patients either do not remember to take their oral hormonal contraceptive every day or may discontinue their contraceptive altogether due to side effects.

Compliance difficulties are more common among oral contraceptive users, partly because unintended pregnancy is a relatively infrequent consequence, and because more common manifestations such as spotting and bleeding may not be recognised as resulting from poor compliance.

Educational interventions can help increase knowledge of available contraceptive methods, enabling individuals to make informed decisions and use contraception more effectively.

While there are methods of contraception that are long-lasting, such as hormonal intrauterine devices, which last anywhere from three to five years, these tend to cause side effects just like daily oral contraceptives.

"To address this unmet need, the development of user-friendly methods with fewer side effects that require less frequent administration is needed. Improving compliance and adherence is crucial for ensuring the effectiveness of contraceptive methods and preventing unintended pregnancies, and it requires a combination of healthcare provider support, education, and innovation in contraceptive options," Mohammad said.


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