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The FDA Approved Birth Control That Lasts An Entire Year & Here’s What We Know So Far

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Most of us at one point or another have forgotten to take our birth control. I feel like at times it’s just inevitable because no amount of alarm clocks, reminders, or sticky notes on your bathroom mirror will help you to 100 percent remember to take it all the time. TBH ladies birth control can be inconvenient and even frustrating. It’s more than just remembering to take them, but finding a contraceptive method that works for you can be just really exhausting. 

It’s a good thing that companies and research groups are developing new forms of birth control all the time. Global nonprofit research organization The Population Council and health care company TherapeuticsMD created Annovera, a vaginal ring that lasts for an entire year.

The FDA approved the contraceptive ring on Friday. According to the The Population Council press release, Annovera will be sold to Title X family planning clinics at a discounted rate. 

 

How does Annovera actually work? It essentially works like any other contraceptive ring. The ring, which is“a soft, reusable flexible silicone ring (2 ¼ inches diameter)” is inserted into the vagina and left in place for three weeks. Annovera releases hormones like estrogen and progestin to prevent pregnancy. You remove the ring for a week and re-insert the same ring back into your vagina. Annovera is different from other birth control methods out there because of how long it lasts.  

There is no need to replace it each month. All you have to do is remove the ring for your period, wash it, and store it in a case before reinsertion, according to the press release. Bonus, unlike other contraceptive rings, you don’t have to refrigerate it, and you can do this by yourself. This could be beneficial for women who can’t easily access health care providers or refrigeration storage.

It is also effective. According to the press release, Annovera is 97.3 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, when used as instructed. 

“This approval is a key first step toward introducing this product globally and better meeting the sexual and reproductive health needs of women, men and young people in the U.S. and around the world,” said executive director, Center For Biomedical Research at the Population Council Jim Sailer in the press release. “We are grateful to the dozens of researchers who have worked on this product, the donors who have funded its development, and most of all, to the thousands of women who volunteered to participate in clinical trial and made this all possible.” 

Of course, with any birth control method, there are some side effects and risks. According to the FDA press release, common side effects may include: “headache/migraine, nausea/vomiting, yeast infections, abdominal pain, dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), breast tenderness, irregular bleeding, diarrhea and genital itching.” 

You should also avoid Annovera if you’re over the age of 35 and smoke. Smoking increases the risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke in people using “combined hormonal contraceptives,” according to the FDA.

If you want to try Annovera, just know that it won’t be release until 2019 or 2020. It’s also important to know that no birth control option is right for everyone, so it’s best to talk to your health care professional. Honestly though, it sounds like the contraceptive ring could help so many people, if the company follows through with the affordability plan for Title X families. 


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