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Review
, (1), CD002031

Diaphragm Versus Diaphragm With Spermicides for Contraception

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Review

Diaphragm Versus Diaphragm With Spermicides for Contraception

L Cook et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.

Abstract

Background: The diaphragm is usually used with a spermicide. However, some practitioners have suggested that spermicides offer no additional contraceptive protection and have advocated alternative guidelines for the use of diaphragms.

Objectives: The objective of this review was to compare the effectiveness, safety and acceptability of the diaphragm with and without spermicide.

Search strategy: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, POPLINE, CINAHL, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, and reference lists of relevant articles. In addition, we contacted experts in the field to identify unpublished studies.

Selection criteria: Randomized controlled trials comparing women of reproductive age using the diaphragm with and without spermicide as the sole contraceptive method that reported clinical outcomes.

Data collection and analysis: Two reviewers independently extracted data on outcomes and trial characteristics and any discrepancies were resolved by consensus or by consultation with the third reviewer. The results of the one identified study are presented descriptively.

Main results: We identified only one study. No significant difference was found in the pregnancy rates (with typical use or consistent use) or discontinuation rates between the diaphragm-with-spermicide and diaphragm-without-spermicide groups. There was a trend towards higher pregnancy rates in the diaphragm-without-spermicide group. However, this study failed to recruit the planned number of participants and was consequently underpowered.

Reviewer's conclusions: As only one underpowered study was identified, we cannot distinguish between the contraceptive effectiveness of the diaphragm with and without spermicide. We cannot draw any conclusion at this point, further research is needed. However, the study provides no evidence to change the commonly recommended practice of using the diaphragm with spermicide.

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