Women on contraceptive pills often suffer side effects such as nausea and weight gain. This may end soon now as drug farm Antares Pharma has developed a contraceptive gel that can be rubbed on the skin like moisturizer and apparently has no side effects.

Researchers claim that rubbing a small amount of the gel into the arm, leg or abdomen every day generates hormones and prevents pregnancy. The gel is even suitable for lactating mothers who are often advised against taking contraceptive pills for its hormone levels that interfere with milk supply.

The gel provides progesterone and estrogen through the skin to stop the ovaries releasing eggs every month. The gel would hit the market if trial results continue to be positive.

Led by Ruth Merkatz, director of clinical development of reproductive health at the Population Council research center in New York, the study involved 18 women in their 20’s and 30’s. None of the participants became pregnant during the seven months study.

Dr. Merkatz, presenting a report at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, said the gel not only enhances a woman’s contraceptive choices, it also has no side effects unlike the oral contraceptives. The key drug is synthetic progesterone called Nestorone. It also contains a type of estrogen chemically identical to the natural hormone produced in a woman’s body.