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Nonoxynol-9 Review

Nonoxynol-9 is a spermicidal suppository which is inserted into the vagina before sexual intercourse. When used correctly, the drug helps to prevent unwanted pregnancy.


Indications for use

Nonoxynol-9 is used as a topical contraception for women of reproductive age (including if there are contraindications to the use of hormonal or intrauterine contraception; irregular sexual intercourse; use of drugs that reduce the effectiveness of hormonal contraception; missing a pill of regular contraceptive).

Mechanism of action

Nonoxynol-9 spermicidal suppositories begin to melt at the body temperature and form a foam regardless of the amount of vaginal secretion.

The drug reduces the surface tension of the lipid membrane of spermatozoa and irreversibly paralyzes their ability to move.

The drug has a mechanical effect since the spermicidal substance, evenly distributed in the vagina, forms a stable barrier, which prevents the penetration of spermatozoa into the uterus.

The preparation has a preventive effect against sexually transmitted infections.

Mode of application

Before use, the suppository is removed from the blister and injected deep into the vagina before each sexual act. The drug becomes active after 10 minutes from the time of administration. During this time, the active substance Nonoxynol-9 is evenly distributed across the vagina and forms a stable barrier that prevents the passage of spermatozoa into the uterus. With prolonged sexual intercourse (more than 1 hour), another suppository should be inserted. Before each new intercourse, it is necessary to re-insert the suppository, even if the time interval between two sexual acts is less than 1 hour. The spermicide may be used for a long period of time.

Important: 2 hours before sexual intercourse and 2 hours after it you should not wash the vagina with soap or gel as this may change the vaginal environment and neutralize spermicides.


Nonoxynol-9 spermicide is not used in the following cases:

  • individual susceptibility to any component of the drug;
  • the disease, in which erosion is formed on the mucous membrane of the uterine cervix;
  • the vagina is incorrectly constructed (when the use of candles is impossible);
  • inflammation of the vagina (vaginitis);
  • inflammatory disease of the vaginal mucosa caused by infection (Colpitis);
  • inflammation of the uterine appendages (salpingo-oophoritis).

Side effects

The drug is well tolerated by both partners. In rare cases, Nonoxynol-9 may cause side effects:

  • a feeling of warmth;
  • itching and burning sensation in the vagina (or penis).

To avoid side effects, you should consult a specialist before using the vaginal suppositories.


The spermicide is practically not subjected to systemic absorption, so interaction with other drugs is unlikely. Because of the possible reduction in spermicidal effect, the suppository should not be used with other drugs intended for intravaginal administration.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Nonoxynol-9 suppository is a contraceptive and is not used during pregnancy. The effect of spermicide on pregnancy is not fully studied. Experiments have shown that the use of nonoxynol-9 in large doses causes significant changes in the fetal liver. Therefore, if pregnancy occurred at the time when you were using drugs with spermicides, there is a possibility of deviations in the child’s development.

The drug should not be used during postpartum discharge.

Potential risk os using the preparation during the breastfeeding period is not sufficiently studied. Lactating women use spermicidal suppositories in the case when the benefit to the mother exceeds the risk to the child.

Special instructions

  • Nonoxynol-9 spermicide can be used in combination with a condom;
  • The drug is not used until the onset of menarche.

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