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You are here : 3-RX.com > Drugs & Medications > Detailed Drug Information (USP DI) > Spermicides : Before Using

Spermicides (Vaginal)

Spermicides | Before Using | Proper Use | Precautions | Side Effects

Before Using This Medicine

In deciding to use vaginal spermicides, the risks of using them must be weighed against the good they will do. This is a decision you and possibly your doctor will make. The following information may help you in making your decision:

Allergies - If you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to benzalkonium chloride, nonoxynol 9, or octoxynol 9, it is best to check with your doctor before using vaginal spermicides.

Pregnancy - Many studies have shown that the use of vaginal spermicides does not increase the risk of birth defects or miscarriage.

Breast-feeding - It is not known if vaginal spermicides pass into breast milk in humans. However, their use has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.

Adolescents - These products have been used by teenagers and have not been shown to cause different side effects or problems than they do in adults. However, some younger users may need extra counseling and information on the importance of using spermicides exactly as they are supposed to be used so they will work properly.

Other medicines - If you are using this medicine without a prescription, carefully read and follow any precautions on the label. For spermicides, the following should be considered:

  • Salicylates used on the skin (e.g., some types of ointments for muscle aches) or
  • Sulfonamides (sulfa medicine) for use in the vagina or
  • Chemicals or substances such as aluminum, citrate, cotton dressings, hydrogen peroxide, iodides, lanolin, nitrates, permanganates, some forms of silver, soaps, detergents, or tartrates - Benzalkonium chloride may not work if it comes in direct contact with these as well as many other chemicals
  • Vaginal douches and rectal or vaginal cleansing products - For spermicides to work properly to prevent pregnancy, they must stay in contact with the sperm in the vagina for at least 6 or 8 hours (depending upon which brand of spermicide you use) after sexual intercourse. Vaginal douching is not necessary after use of these medicines . Douching too soon (even with just water) may stop the spermicide from working. Also, washing or rinsing the vaginal or rectal area may also make the spermicide ineffective in helping to prevent sexually transmitted diseases

Other medical problems - The presence of certain medical problems may affect the use of vaginal spermicides. Since in some cases spermicides should not be used, check with your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Allergies, irritations, or infections of the genitals - Using vaginal spermicides may cause moderate to severe irritation in these conditions. Also, benzalkonium suppositories may be less effective in women with vaginal infections
  • Conditions or medical problems where it is important that pregnancy does not occur - Vaginal spermicides when used alone are much less effective than birth control pills or the IUD or spermicides used with another form of birth control such as cervical caps, condoms, or diaphragms. Discuss with your doctor what your options are for birth control and the risks and benefits of each method
  • Recent childbirth or abortion or
  • Toxic shock syndrome (history of) - Cervical caps or diaphragms should not be used in these cases because there is an increased chance of developing toxic shock syndrome
  • Sores on the genitals (sex organs) or
  • Irritation of the vagina - It is not known whether spermicides can cause breaks in the skin that could increase the chances of getting a sexually transmitted disease, especially AIDS. Discuss this with a doctor if you have any questions

If you develop any medical problem or begin using any new medicine (prescription or nonprescription) while you are using this medicine, you may want to check with your doctor.

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Spermicides: Description and Brand Names


Spermicides: Proper Use

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