Study of the vaginal tolerance to Acidform, an acid-buffering, bioadhesive gel

Contraception. 1999 Dec;60(6):361-6. doi: 10.1016/s0010-7824(99)00102-x.


Vaginal tolerance tests were performed with a new potential microbicidal and spermicidal product, an acid-buffering vaginal gel (Acidform) without or with nonoxynol-9 (N-9). The potential advantages over other vaginal products include keeping a low pH, decrease of the irritating effect of N-9 on the cervix or vaginal mucosa associated with greater retention of the product after application, and decreasing "messiness" as compared to other vaginal products. Three groups of six women were admitted and randomly assigned to use Acidform with 0%, 2.5%, and 5% N-9. Colposcopic evaluation for vulvar, vaginal, and cervical signs of irritation was performed and photographs were taken, following a specific World Health Organization protocol, at time 0, and after 24 h and 6 days of application of the gel. No irritation or symptom was reported by users of Acidform without N-9. A generalized and intense erythema in cervix was observed in 10 of 12 Acidform/N-9 users and abrasion occurred in nine of them. Vulvar irritation was seen in seven of these 10 volunteers. N-9 concentration in the gel (2.5% or 5.0%) was not related to the findings. No ulcer, exulceration, or de-epithelialization was observed. Acidform without N-9 was well tolerated by volunteers, but it was unable to protect the cervix, vagina, and vulva from the N-9 effects.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cervix Uteri / drug effects
  • Cervix Uteri / pathology
  • Cervix Uteri / physiology
  • Colposcopy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Erythema / pathology
  • Female
  • Gels
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Middle Aged
  • Nonoxynol / adverse effects*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control
  • Spermatocidal Agents / adverse effects*
  • Vagina / drug effects
  • Vagina / pathology
  • Vagina / physiology*
  • Vaginal Creams, Foams, and Jellies / pharmacology*
  • Vulva / drug effects
  • Vulva / pathology
  • Vulva / physiology


  • Gels
  • Spermatocidal Agents
  • Vaginal Creams, Foams, and Jellies
  • Nonoxynol