With a dapivirine-releasing vaginal ring having successfully completed late-stage clinical testing for HIV prevention and currently undergoing regulatory review, there is now growing interest in next-generation multipurpose prevention technologies that seek to combine antiretroviral and contraceptive drugs within a single product. Here, we focus on ongoing efforts to develop a silicone elastomer vaginal ring releasing both dapivirine and levonorgestrel. Specifically, we evaluate various strategies aimed at both better understanding and reducing the tendency of levonorgestrel to bind with the elastomer, including: (i) formulation and post-manufacturing strategies aimed at reducing the extent of levonorgestrel reaction with addition-cure silicone elastomers; (ii) evaluation of a simple silicone system to model the complex elastomer; (iii) use of model compounds representing the enone and ethinyl moieties of levonorgestrel to probe the mode of addition of levonorgestrel to addition-cure silicone elastomers; and (iv) solution and solid-state 13C-NMR analysis to probe the structural features of the levonorgestrel-silicone system. The results demonstrate that both the enone and ethinyl groups within levonorgestrel undergo hydrosilylation reaction with hydrosiloxane groups in the silicone elastomer leading to binding. The results also highlight potential strategies for further optimising the dapivirine+levonorgestrel silicone vaginal ring formulation to ensure that the levonorgestrel is available for release.
- Multipurpose prevention technology
- HIV microbicide
- Intravaginal ring
- Silicone elastomer