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Contraception. 1998 Oct;58(4):245-9.

Women's preferences for vaginal antimicrobial contraceptives. III. Choice of a formulation, applicator, and packaging.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), São Paulo, Brazil.


Novel vaginal formulations are under development to combat the increasing incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS, and also unplanned pregnancies. A study was performed to determine women's preferences for different dosage forms (gel, cream, ovule/suppository, film, foam, tablet), width, length, and color of an applicator, and various types of packages. The study was conducted in Campinas, Brazil. A total of 635 women were interviewed, including both adolescents and adults and low and middle-high socioeconomic groups. The large majority of the women preferred a gel over a cream; both were preferred over the other methods. When asked which method they would not use, the film was most frequently identified, followed by the tablet and ovule. The primary reasons for selecting a particular dosage form were ease of use, absence of odor or the presence of a pleasant one, absence of color, and insertion with an applicator. The major reasons for not using a method were discomfort, "plastic" appearance, distrust of effectiveness, difficulty with insertion, messiness, and rigidity/hardness. The majority of the women liked the applicator shown. The prefilled single dose applicator was by far the preferred packaging. This information should aid in the development of consumer-friendly, vaginal formulations.

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