A birth control gel has been approved that makes the vagina hostile to sperm has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The gel is the first non-hormonal contraceptive to be approved by the FDA since the female condom in 1993.
The new birth control will be marketed as Phexxi and works by making the pH levels in the vagina inhospitable to sperm if applied up to an hour before sex.
Phexxi will be the latest addition to the US$5.4 billion market which is dominated by birth control pills.
Saundra Pelletier, chief executive officer of Evofem, the maker of Phexxi, said the product is the only contraceptive with no hormones or systemic side effects that women are able to use only when necessary.
In a clinical study of 1,400 women, Phexxi was proven to prevent 93.3 per cent of the time when used properly and 86 per cent of the time overall. More than 10 per cent of women experienced vaginal burning and itching, which were the most common side effects, however these decreased with consecutive cycles.
The gel is expected to be available following a September “staged launch” in areas where businesses shut due to the coronavirus are reopening more rapidly.