For the last 30 years, the medications needed for IVF
have been given by injection. Initially, the injections were intramuscular. More recently, more advanced fertility drugs
are now given by subcutaneous injections
. Subcutaneous injections use a smaller needle which is also thinner. This results in less discomfort to the patient. however, a needle is a needle and some discomfort and bruising still occurs. Several attempts to create a method to take these medications without injections have been tried without success.
Desirable methods of drug delivery include oral (pills) or transdermal (through the skin). The problems that have been encountered include poor absorption of the medication as well as breakdown of the medication during the course of delivery.
Pantec Biosolutions AG, a privately-owned company developing innovative technologies for transdermal drug delivery, reports promising progress using a transdermal system they developed called P.L.E.A.S.E. (Painless Laser Epidermal System).
So far, the company is reporting “proof-of-principle” studies meaning that the delivery of the drug by this method is at least equivalent to delivery by subcutaneous injection. The company has completed studies with several key hormones in its primary focus area of In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF). Development of transdermal patch systems, optimized for use with the P.L.E.A.S.E. technology, is underway with clinical results expected in 2009.