Washington: Researchers are developing a new contraceptive that is safer and lot more effective for women than current pills.

Unlike "the pill" approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1961 to prevent pregnancy with the help of synthetic hormones, the new approach targets key enzymes responsible for the release of an egg.

"While the (older) method works, it has its downsides," explains Oregon Health & Science University's Primate Research Centre scientist Jon Hennebold, who led the study, the journal Endocrinology reports.

"This (existing) contraceptive method affects systems throughout a woman's body," says Hennebold. "Therefore, there are some risks associated with (them), primarily cardiovascular disease," he adds.

Besides, the pill requires the user to conform to a daily medication schedule, which makes it about 80 to 90 percent effective, according to a Primate Centre statement.

Hennebold and colleagues were able to determine exactly which enzymes to focus in the new contraceptive by studying rhesus macaque monkeys that have a very similar reproductive system to humans.

This research demonstrated that targeting these enzymes can prevent the release of an egg from the ovary.

"Our hope is that the next generation of birth control is more targeted and has a higher effectiveness level," added Hennebold.

(Agencies)