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Human-centred design of a new microneedle-based hormonal contraceptive delivery system [version 2; peer review: 2 approved with reservations]

Gualeni, Benedetta ORCID:, Hughes, Louise, Stauber, Isabelle, Ackers, Louise, Gorman, Angela, Gashuga, Dorothy, Dzabala, Nettie, Chimimba, Frider, Chikowe, Ibrahim, Coulman, Sion A. ORCID: and Birchall, James C. ORCID: 2021. Human-centred design of a new microneedle-based hormonal contraceptive delivery system [version 2; peer review: 2 approved with reservations]. Gates Open Research 5 , 96. 10.12688/gatesopenres.13233.2

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Background: It is estimated that 225 million women worldwide have an unmet need for family planning, and more than half live in low- and middle-income countries. Increasing the choice of contraceptive methods available can reduce this unmet need. Microneedle drug delivery systems represent a new technology for minimally invasive self-administration of contraceptives. We explored stakeholders’ views on different aspects of a proposed microneedle-based hormonal contraceptive delivery system. The feedback was used to iteratively develop this delivery system. Methods: Focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews were conducted with potential stakeholders (women and trans males of childbearing age, their partners, and health professionals and organisations that provide family planning advice and contraception services) in Uganda, The Gambia, Malawi, and the UK, exploring concept acceptability and gathering feedback on different aspects of design and usability of the proposed delivery system. Results: Participants viewed the concept of a new, microneedle-based contraceptive favourably. In Uganda, participants were presented with 7 different prototype applicators and identified desirable features of a preferred delivery device; their input reducing the number of prototypes that were subsequently evaluated by stakeholders in The Gambia and the UK. Participants in these countries helped to identify and/or confirm the most desirable characteristics of the applicator, resulting in design consolidation into a refined concept applicator. The final, optimised applicator prototype was validated during user research in Malawi. This human-centred design approach was also used to iteratively develop an information leaflet for the device. During these user studies, other preferred aspects of a contraceptive delivery system were also evaluated, such as anatomical site of application, duration of action, and return to fertility. Conclusions: A new microneedle-based contraceptive delivery system was iteratively developed using a human-centred design approach and was favourably received by potential stakeholders. The product is now being refined for testing in pre-clinical studies.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Pharmacy
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher: F1000Research
ISSN: 2572-4754
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 September 2021
Date of Acceptance: 30 July 2021
Last Modified: 08 May 2023 02:57

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