The problem of reliable contraception is relevant to women of all ages. Among a huge number of different birth control options, many women opt for over-the-counter (OTC) contraceptives.
Female contraceptives available for sale without a prescription have several advantages compared to prescription medicines and devices for birth control. The key features, advantages and disadvantages of OTC female contraceptives can be found in this review.
The main advantage of over-the-counter female contraceptives is that they can be used by almost every woman. OTC contraceptives should not be used by only women, who have allergy to their active ingredients.
A list of active ingredients used in the production of female contraceptives can be found on the packaging or in «Consumer Information Leaflet». In the production of the best-selling OTC female contraceptives, spermicides such as Nonoxynol 9 or Benzalkonium chloride are used.
- Nonoxynol 9 is a spermicide widely known in the USA. For over 30 years, the American women use vaginal contraceptive sponges that include 1 gram of Nonoxynol 9 spermicide.
The US supplier of female contraceptives containing Nonoxynol 9 is Mayer Laboratories. You can buy vaginal sponges for contraception in the USA under the trade name Today.
Vaginal films containing Nonoxynol 9 are available at the international pharmaceutical market. However, vaginal contraceptive films (VCF) with Nonoxynol 9 are not approved in the USA. Therefore, the American women can buy such type of over-the-counter female contraceptives only on online pharmacies.
Contraceptive sponges have a distinct advantage over spermicidal film. Vaginal contraceptive sponges are made of polyurethane, which absorbs moisture and holds it inside securely.
After installing the sponge into the vagina, polyurethane barrier is created in front of the cervix, which prevents the penetration of sperm into the uterus. Thus, vaginal sponges provide not only spermicidal effect, but also act as a barrier contraceptive.
Soluble spermicidal films are not able to create a contraceptive barrier. Therefore, their effectiveness is lower than that of female spermicidal contraceptives available for sale as polyurethane sponges.
- Benzalkonium chloride is a spermicide very popular in Europe and practically unknown in the USA, Australia, Canada and other developed countries. Benzalkonium spermicidal agent is used in the production of soluble vaginal suppositories, creams, balls and tablets.
The European supplier of female contraceptives containing Benzalkonium is Laboratoire Innotech. It is possible to buy vaginal balls for contraception in the EU under the trademark Pharmatex.
Mechanism of action of female contraceptives containing Nonoxynol 9 and Benzalkonium is identical. However, the duration of the contraceptive effect of Benzalkonium and Nonoxynol 9 is different.
Mechanism of action and effectiveness of female spermicidal contraceptives
All spermicides used in the production of female contraceptives have the ability to destroy the structure of spermatozoa and thereby to inactivate sperm.
When contacting a spermicidal agent with sperm, biochemical reaction takes place, due to which the ability of spermatozoa to fertilize the egg decreases by several times.
The efficacy of female spermicidal contraceptives (sponges, films, suppositories, sprays, gels, creams, tablets, capsules) does not exceed 90%. This means that no less 10% of women using spermicides for birth control can become pregnant.
Because of the low efficiency of spermicides, they are recommended for use together with barrier contraception methods (condoms, vaginal diaphragms, cervical caps).
Choice of female contraceptive commercially available without a prescription
When choosing over-the-counter female contraceptives, pay attention to the duration of its contraceptive effect. Even if different types of female contraceptives contain the same active ingredient, the duration of their effect may be different.
All female contraceptives containing spermicidal agents are used only once. The maximum duration of contraceptive effect is provided by female contraceptives made from polyurethane sponge.
- Vaginal sponges containing Nonoxynol 9 provide contraceptive effect within 24 hours.
- The maximum duration of the effect of female contraceptives containing Benzalkonium is 4 hours.
The advantage of non-hormonal contraceptives for women compared to hormonal birth control methods is that they can be used in the postpartum period. In addition, many non-hormonal contraceptives for women help to prevent infections of the urinary system.
If you want to buy female contraceptives but have never used them, you can get from your doctor or pharmacist information on different birth control options. When buying female contraceptives online without a prescription, you can get a pharmacist’s qualified advice – absolutely free.
Visitors of online pharmacies have the opportunity to buy non-hormonal and hormonal female contraceptives. Before you buy over-the-counter or prescription female contraceptives on online pharmacy, ask all your questions by phone or email.