Contraceptive Injection Available For Women To Use At Home For The First Time In Britain

Taking time out of a busy schedule to pick up contraception from your GP can be a pain. But now, there may be an easier way to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

A self-injectable contraceptive that women can use at home is now available in the UK, the manufacturer Pfizer has announced.

Each jab of the liquid, called Sayana Press, provides contraception for at least 13 weeks.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has extended the permitted use of the product, meaning it no longer needs to be administered by a GP.

Women wishing to use Sayana Press from home will be required to see a healthcare professional for training. They will then be given a years supply of the injection and will only have to visit their GP once each year for a check-up.

"When it comes to contraception, women may require different options that suit them at different times in their lives," Seema Patel, a medical director at Pfizer said, according to The Telegraph.

"We appreciate that many women are very busy and that visiting their healthcare professional regularly to pick up their contraception can be a challenge.

"With around five million women in the UK choosing a hormonal contraceptive, self-injectable Sayana Press could offer an alternative to women who are short on time yet still want to take control of their family planning."

According to reports, 3,000 teenage girls aged 15 and under received a hormonal injection to prevent pregnancies under the NHS in the last four years.

While Pfizer has insisted that Sayana Press should only be issued to women aged 12 to 18 when "other contraceptive methods are considered unsuitable or unacceptable", there are still concerns over under-age girls having access to the contraceptive.

Campaigners have warned that the widespread use of "long-acting" injectable contraception could put under age girls at risk of abuse.

"To provide long-acting reversible contraceptives to girls under the age of 16 is to give them a licence to engage in illegal sexual activity and to deny them the protection that the law on the age of consent is intended to give," Norman Wells, of the Family Education Trust, previously said.

"Not only are these community contraceptive clinics condoning unlawful sexual activity and undermining parents, but they are also placing young teenagers at risk of sexually transmitted infections, emotional harm and abuse."

Pfizer has insisted that Sayana Press should only be issued to women aged 12 to 18 when "other contraceptive methods are considered unsuitable or unacceptable".

Others view the at-home contraception more positively, hailing it a "game-changer" for women.

Blogging on HuffPost Impact, Christopher Purdy, CEO of DKInternational - a company who provide family planning in developing countries - says Sayana Press has the potential to put contraception "where it belongs... literally into the hands of women who want to prevent pregnancy".

"With just a bit of training and education, most women can learn to self-inject just as millions of diabetics do every day," he adds.

"Empowering women with this option could well prove a game-changer."

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