A US pharmaceutical last month introduced a spearmint-flavoured chewable contraceptive pill as a 'more convenient' option for women 'on-the-go'.
New Jersey based Warner Chilcott who market the product believe their new chewable birth control pill - the first and only to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - will be an easier option for some women, whilst still providing the same reliability as the traditional swallowed pill.
According to Warner Chilcott CEO Roger Boissonneault, "Women who rely on the birth control pill tend to lead busy lives and have less time," and the company's new Femcon Fe tablets aim to help those busy women who may forget to take their pill every so often or don't like swallowing tablets. Up to 50 per cent of women miss one or two tablets a month, increasing their chance of accidental pregnancy.
The tablet itself is a chewable version of the company's Ovcon 35 (norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol) which has been on the market for around three decades, and comes in a 28-day pack with 21 active pills and seven inactive 'reminder' pills.
The tablets can also be swallowed whole, but if chewed must be followed by a 8oz of liquid to ensure that the full dose reaches the stomach and no residue is left in the mouth.
"This isn't a great leap forward, but I think this is a helpful step," said Dr Lee Schulman, chairman of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals.
"I think it is a better approach in the group of women who have a very high rate of unintended pregnancy, which is younger women."
The new product's biggest draw could, however, be in its packaging. In the US birth control pills tend to come in large, slightly cumbersome 'dial packs' as opposed to blister packs that are more common in the UK, for example. The new tablets come in a credit-card sized dispenser, not to mention the attractive velvet pouch that is supplied along with the pills in so as to make the whole package more discreet.
The product is manufactured by Bristol Myers Squibb, and a month's supply of the pills will cost $44 (€33) wholesale, but will be somewhat more costly from pharmacies.