Day 4's early morning session was on the interesting developments in vaginal rings, delivered by Regine Sitruk Ware.
Vaginal rings in development
Regine shared favourable patient satisfaction study data from the new ST-1435/EE 1 year vaginal ring. It's used on the same basis as many existing rings - 21 days on, 7 off, but it can be re-used for 13 consecutive cycles. A particularly important characteristic for use in developing countries is that it requires no refrigeration. It's currently awaiting approval by the FDA so watch this space.
A fairly recent study (Beksinska et al, 2006) found that 68% of women surveyed would be interested in a contraceptive MPT if it was available.
MPT vaginal rings in development
Multipurpose prevention technology (MPT) is in early development but at the trial stages is a 60 day combination vaginal ring (DPV+LNG) that could prevent pregnancy and HIV. Still in development are a 30 day MPT ring (MIV-150 + Zinc Acetate + LNG) and a 90 day MPT ring (TFV+LNG) that could both prevent pregnancy, HIV and HSV-2.
The pod vaginal ring design
A newly developed pod vaginal ring technology could hold great potential for MPT medicine. The polymer-coated drug cores known as ‘pods’ can contain different active pharmaceutical ingredients and are embedded in an unmedicated silicone elastomer ring, with the incorporation of 10 pods being possible. So far, the rings have shown sustained release in macaques over 30 days.
It's great to hear so much research is going into this area, providing more choice for women and their physicians, and addressing the unmet contraceptive needs of so many women worldwide.