By DR CHRISTOPHER NG · 31/03/2016
The Today®Sponge was the first successful product to incorporate a spermicide into a barrier contraceptive and was reintroduced into the market in 2005 after its first introduction in 1983-1995. The Today® Sponge is a reservoir for one gram of Nonoxynol-9, the most widely used spermicide in the world. The advantages of the Today® Sponge are that it works to prevent pregnancy by continually releasing an effective amount of spermicide (125-150mg) to kill sperm, it acts as a physical barrier between sperm and the cervix and the polyurethane foam helps to trap and absorb semen. The other advantages of the Today® Sponge include the fact that it contains no hormones and it allows women to take control of contraception. Once inserted, the Today® Sponge is effective immediately and remains effective for 24 hours without the need for applications of messy spermicidal creams, foams or gels. A single Today® Sponge allows for as many acts of intercourse as desired within a 24-hour timeframe without the need to change protection.
For maximum protection against pregnancy, the Today® Sponge must be left in place for at least six hours after the last act of intercourse. It should not remain inserted for more than 30 hours. If a couple were to suddenly desire sex, the fact that the Today® Sponge must be inserted before intercourse in a hurry may interfere with spontaneity. The Today® Sponge also does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Those at risk for STDs should use a condom in conjunction with the Today® Sponge for maximum protection against STDs and pregnancy.
The effectiveness rate of the Today® Sponge was 89% – 91% during the first year of use. Additional clinical trials continued and followed a sub-set of women and the method effectiveness rate was found to increase in year two to 96.6%. This suggests that increasing familiarity with the Today® Sponge increases success with it but it is overall less effective than other types of contraception.