There seems to be a mobile app for everything nowadays and contraception is no exception. Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration permitted the marketing of the first medical mobile app, Natural Cycles, which can be used as a method of contraception to prevent pregnancy.
“Consumers are increasingly using digital health technologies to inform their everyday health decisions, and this new app can provide an effective method of contraception if it’s used correctly,” stated Terri Cornelison, assistant director for the health of women in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.
Natural Cycles reports which days a woman is most fertile based on daily body temperature readings and menstrual cycle information. Women using this app as a contraceptive should use protection or refrain from sex when they see the display “use protection” on the app. This app will cost users $10 a month or $80 annually. With a 93 percent success rate, is this app really worth the extra cash?
Before you decide to sign yourself up, you should know that questions have emerged over whether this app is as effective at preventing pregnancy as it claims to be.
Investigations have arisen after 37 women who used the app became pregnant. The clinical studies have evaluated the effectiveness of Natural Cycles for contraceptive use involving 1,570 women who have used the app for an average of eight months.
They’ve concluded that the app had a “perfect use” failure rate of 1.8 percent, meaning 1.8 in 100 women who have used the app for one year will become pregnant because they had sex on a day when the app had made a mistake and a “typical use” failure rate of 6.5 percent.
The Medical Products Agency (MPA) reported that it completed its first phase of the investigation and will continue to ask Natural Cycles for its clinical data, risk analysis and aftermarket control that will all be used to further determine the shortcomings of the product.
Cornelison also stated that “women should know that no form of contraception works perfectly.” Even though Natural Cycles claims to be an effective contraceptive, it’s not 100 percent fool-proof when used by itself. This app should be used in conjunction with other forms of contraception like condoms or birth control pills to further prevent pregnancy.
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Commissioner, O. O. (n.d.). Press Announcements – FDA allows marketing of first direct-to-consumer app for contraceptive use to prevent pregnancy. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/UCM616511.htm?utm_campaign=08102018_PR_FDA allows marketing of first direct-to-consumer contraception app&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua