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Clinical Trial
, 40 (11), 764-74

The Diaphragm With and Without Spermicide. A Randomized, Comparative Efficacy Trial

  • PMID: 8592310
Clinical Trial

The Diaphragm With and Without Spermicide. A Randomized, Comparative Efficacy Trial

W Bounds et al. J Reprod Med.


Objective: To determine the relative contraceptive efficacy of a diaphragm used with spermicide as compared to one used without.

Study design: Two hundred sixteen women entered the study between September 1985 and December 1990. Of these, 84 were randomly assigned to the diaphragm-only group and 80 to the diaphragm-with-spermicide group as their primary method of contraception. In addition, a spermicide-only group was planned originally to serve as a control group to assess the contribution to efficacy made by a spermicide alone. Thirty-nine women were randomly assigned to this group, and 13 selected themselves for it. All were followed for a maximum of 12 months. The primary outcome variable was accidental pregnancy. The statistical difference between the two diaphragm groups was analyzed.

Results: The 12-month "typical use" failure rates for the diaphragm-only group were 28.6 per 100 women and for the diaphragm-with-spermicide group, 21.2. The 12-month cumulative consistent-use failure rates were 19.3 per 100 women for the diaphragm-only group as compared to 12.3 per 100 women for users of a diaphragm with spermicide.

Conclusion: Although the consistent use rates were not significantly different, this study had low statistical power and hence gives no support to the hypothesis that adjunctive spermicide use fails to improve the effectiveness of the diaphragm method, especially in view of the magnitude and direction of the difference observed. Unless a study with sufficient power proves that the use of a diaphragm alone is statistically as effective as use of a diaphragm with spermicide, use of a spermicide in conjunction with the diaphragm continues to be the appropriate clinical recommendation.

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