Birth Control Spermicides
What Are Birth Control Spermicides?
- Spermicides are chemical barriers to conception.
- They are a reversible method of birth control, meaning that when a woman quits using them, full fertility returns.
- Vaginal spermicides are available in forms such as foam, cream, jelly, film, suppository, or tablet.
- Spermicides are not as effective as many other forms of birth control when used alone.
- They are often used with barrier methods of birth control and are much more effective when used in this context.
How Spermicides Work
- Spermicides contain a chemical that kills sperm or makes them inactive so they cannot enter a woman’s cervix.
- Nonoxynol-9 is the active chemical in most spermicide products in the United States.
- The concentration of the chemical depends on the product.
- Several brands and types of spermicides are available over the counter.
- They can be obtained at drugstores, some supermarkets, and family planning clinics.
- Planned Parenthood lists the cost of applicator kits for foam and gel at about $8, and refills at about $4-8. Film and suppositories are priced similarly.
- In some states, the cost is covered by Medicaid when provided by clinics or authorized by a private doctor.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/29/2016
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
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