The Today sponge is a brand of plastic contraceptive sponge saturated with a spermicide nonoxynol-9 to prevent conception.Within two years of its launch, Today had become the largest selling over-the-counter female contraceptive in the United States, and was soon rolled out into other markets.
The Today sponge dates back to 1976 when it was created by Bruce Ward Vorhauer.Vorhauer struggled for seven years to get the device approved and on the market. Following U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, the brand was rolled out in June 1983. The product, manufactured by VLI Corp. of Irvine, California, was classified as "relatively safe" by the FDA in 1984. A 1984 study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology compared it with the diaphragm and found that the Today sponge was a "safe and acceptable method of contraception with an effectiveness rate in the range of other vaginal contraceptives." The Today sponge also broke the barrier in several markets for advertising contraceptive devices.
The Today sponge "was manufactured until 1995, when FDA imposed new manufacturing standards."The product had several setbacks while marketed, including a link to toxic shock syndrome. Personal financial problems forced Vorhauer to sell the entire manufacturing operation to American Home Products, now Wyeth. Almost the entire content of the facility was moved to the Whitehall-Robbins facility in Hammonton, New Jersey, from its original California home. The sponge was removed from the U.S. market in 1994 after problems were found at the facility related to the deionized water system. The water system, which was originally sized for much larger production, could not produce the small amounts of deionized water required for this one product and became repeatedly contaminated. Based on slumping sales and to avoid any further FDA issues, Wyeth stopped selling the sponge rather than move production or modify its plant.
In 1998, Allendale Pharmaceuticals acquired the rights to the Today sponge and it was once again available.New FDA standards for manufacturing and record-keeping forced repeated delays, but the Today sponge was finally re-introduced in Canada in March 2003, and in the U.S. in September 2005. In January 2007, Allendale Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Synova Healthcare, Inc. In December 2007 Synova filed for bankruptcy reorganization; in 2008 the manufacturing rights to the Today sponge were purchased by Alvogen. In mid May 2009, Mayer Laboratories, Inc., the distributor of the Today sponge for the US, Canada and the EU, announced the Today sponge had been re-launched in the United States.
At the end of 2019, Mayer Labs had issues with the equipment to manufacturer the Today sponge. As of the onset of the COVID pandemic, it is out of production with no information as to "when or if this situation will change."
A 1995 Seinfeld episode, "The Sponge", revolved around Elaine's attempts to procure her favorite form of birth control, the discontinued Today sponge, and her rationing them based on whether a potential partner was "sponge-worthy".This was later revisited in the series finale when the pharmacist testifies against Elaine for buying a case of sponges.
Emergency contraception (EC) is a birth control measure, used after sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy.
The diaphragm is a barrier method of birth control. It is moderately effective, with a one-year failure rate of around 12% with typical use. It is placed over the cervix with spermicide before sex and left in place for at least six hours after sex. Fitting by a healthcare provider is generally required.
Nonoxynol-9, sometimes abbreviated as N-9, is an organic compound that is used as a surfactant. It is a member of the nonoxynol family of nonionic surfactants. N-9 and related compounds are ingredients in various cleaning and cosmetic products. It is widely used in contraceptives for its spermicidal properties.
Spermicide is a contraceptive substance that destroys sperm, inserted vaginally prior to intercourse to prevent pregnancy. As a contraceptive, spermicide may be used alone. However, the pregnancy rate experienced by couples using only spermicide is higher than that of couples using other methods. Usually, spermicides are combined with contraceptive barrier methods such as diaphragms, condoms, cervical caps, and sponges. Combined methods are believed to result in lower pregnancy rates than either method alone.
The cervical cap is a form of barrier contraception. A cervical cap fits over the cervix and blocks sperm from entering the uterus through the external orifice of the uterus, called the os.
The contraceptive sponge combines barrier and spermicidal methods to prevent conception. Sponges work in two ways. First, the sponge is inserted into the vagina, so it can cover the cervix and prevent any sperm from entering the uterus. Secondly, the sponge contains spermicide.
Levonorgestrel is a hormonal medication which is used in a number of birth control methods. It is combined with an estrogen to make combination birth control pills. As an emergency birth control, sold under the brand names Plan B One-Step and Julie, among others, it is useful within 72 hours of unprotected sex. The more time that has passed since sex, the less effective the medication becomes, and it does not work after pregnancy (implantation) has occurred. Levonorgestrel works by preventing ovulation or fertilization from occurring. It decreases the chances of pregnancy by 57 to 93%. In an intrauterine device (IUD), such as Mirena among others, it is effective for the long-term prevention of pregnancy. A levonorgestrel-releasing implant is also available in some countries.
Levonorgestrel-releasing implant, sold under the brand name Jadelle among others, are devices that release levonorgestrel for birth control. It is one of the most effective forms of birth control with a one-year failure rate around 0.05%. The device is placed under the skin and lasts for up to five years. It may be used by women who have a history of pelvic inflammatory disease and therefore cannot use an intrauterine device. Following removal fertility quickly returns.
A contraceptive patch, also known as "the patch", is a transdermal patch applied to the skin that releases synthetic oestrogen and progestogen hormones to prevent pregnancy. They have been shown to be as effective as the combined oral contraceptive pill with perfect use, and the patch may be more effective in typical use.
Barr Pharmaceuticals was a global specialty and generic drug manufacturer with operations in 30 countries.
Extended or continuous cycle combined oral contraceptive pills are a packaging of combined oral contraceptive pills (COCPs) that reduce or eliminate the withdrawal bleeding that would occur once every 28 days in traditionally packaged COCPs. It works by reducing the frequency of the pill-free or placebo days. Extended cycle use of COCPs may also be called menstrual suppression, although other hormonal medications or medication delivery systems may also be used to suppress menses. Any brand of combined oral contraceptive pills can be used in an extended or continuous manner by simply discarding the placebo pills; this is most commonly done with monophasic pills in which all of the pills in a package contain the same fixed dosing of a synthetic estrogen and a progestin in each active pill.
Etonogestrel is a medication which is used as a means of birth control for women. It is available as an implant placed under the skin of the upper arm under the brand names Nexplanon and Implanon. It is a progestin that is also used in combination with ethinylestradiol, an estrogen, as a vaginal ring under the brand names NuvaRing and Circlet. Etonogestrel is effective as a means of birth control and lasts at least three or four years with some data showing effectiveness for five years. Following removal, fertility quickly returns.
There are many methods of birth control that vary in requirements, side effects, and effectiveness. As the technology, education, and awareness about contraception has evolved, new contraception methods have been theorized and put in application. Although no method of birth control is ideal for every user, some methods remain more effective, affordable or intrusive than others. Outlined here are the different types of barrier methods, hormonal methods, various methods including spermicides, emergency contraceptives, and surgical methods and a comparison between them.
Ortho Pharmaceutical was initially formed in the United States in 1931 as a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson to market the first prescription spermicidal contraceptive jelly, Ortho-Gynol.
A contraceptive implant is an implantable medical device used for the purpose of birth control. The implant may depend on the timed release of hormones to hinder ovulation or sperm development, the ability of copper to act as a natural spermicide within the uterus, or it may work using a non-hormonal, physical blocking mechanism. As with other contraceptives, a contraceptive implant is designed to prevent pregnancy, but it does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
Birth control, also known as contraception, anticonception, and fertility control, is the use of methods or devices to prevent unintended pregnancy. Birth control has been used since ancient times, but effective and safe methods of birth control only became available in the 20th century. Planning, making available, and using human birth control is called family planning. Some cultures limit or discourage access to birth control because they consider it to be morally, religiously, or politically undesirable.
The womb veil was a 19th-century American form of barrier contraception consisting of an occlusive pessary, i.e. a device inserted into the vagina to block access of the sperm into the uterus. Made of rubber, it was a forerunner to the modern diaphragm and cervical cap. The name was first used by Edward Bliss Foote in 1863 for the device he designed and marketed. "Womb veil" became the most common 19th-century American term for similar devices, and continued to be used into the early 20th century. Womb veils were among a "range of contraceptive technology of questionable efficacy" available to American women of the 19th century, forms of which began to be advertised in the 1830s and 1840s. They could be bought widely through mail-order catalogues; when induced abortion was criminalized during the 1870s, reliance on birth control increased. Womb veils were touted as a discreet form of contraception, with one catalogue of erotic products from the 1860s promising that they could be "used by the female without danger of detection by the male."
Wyeth was a pharmaceutical company until it was purchased by Pfizer in 2009. The company was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1860 as John Wyeth and Brother. Its headquarters moved to Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and Madison, New Jersey, before its headquarters were consolidated with Pfizer's in New York City after the 2009 merger.
CONRAD is a non-profit organization scientific research organization that works to improve the reproductive health of women, especially in developing countries. CONRAD was established in 1986 under a cooperative agreement between Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) and the United States Agency for International Development(USAID). CONRAD’s products are developed primarily for women in low-resource settings, in that they are designed to be safe, affordable and user-friendly. CONRAD is led by Scientific and Executive Director Gustavo Doncel, M.D., Ph.D. Primary funding for CONRAD comes from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), with additional funding from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Combined hormonal contraception (CHC), or combined birth control, is a form of hormonal contraception which combines both an estrogen and a progestogen in varying formulations.