American Sexual
Health Association

FDA Approves New Hormone-Free Birth Control Option

Nearly all women use birth control at some point in their lives, and soon they’ll have one more option available. On May 22, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Phexxi, a non-hormonal contraceptive gel that works by keeping the pH levels in the vagina acidic, and thus inhospitable to sperm.

What makes this new option different? As mentioned, it will offer women a new non-hormonal option, so women who can’t or prefer not to use birth control with hormones will have an alternative to condoms, the copper IUD, diaphragm or cervical cap. It’s also an on-demand option, meaning it can be used as needed. The gel comes in an applicator and can be inserted just before sex.

In clinical trials, Phexxi was about 86% effective on average over seven menstrual cycles. Some women developed cystitis, pyelonephritis (kidney infection) and other upper urinary tract infection (UTI), so it’s not recommended for women with a history of recurrent urinary tract infection or urinary tract abnormalities.

Expect to see this option available in September.

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