Female contraceptives are still lacking the therapeutics that provide better safety, with the unmet needs similar to those that were present 10 years ago, according to data and analytics company, GlobalData.
Key opinion leaders interviewed by GlobalData have expressed the opinion 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.
Marketed contraceptives currently carry the risk of irregular bleeding patterns, weight gain, changes in mood, depression, migraine/headaches, nausea and acne. Side effects such as these are one of the main reasons why patients may decide to discontinue contraceptive use, leading to unintended pregnancies.
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 a result from poor compliance.
While there are methods of contraception that are long-lasting, such as hormonal intrauterine devices, these tend to cause side effects, just like daily oral contraceptives.
Dr Shireen Mohammad, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Disorders Analyst at GlobalData, said: “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. 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.”
Dr Shireen Mohammad concludes: “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. It requires a combination of healthcare provider support, education, and innovation in contraceptive options.”