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ELEANOR MEARS

Summary.

This trial was designed to compare the efficiency and acceptability of three different chemical contraceptive products — a foaming tablet (Volpar foaming tablets), a pessary (Genexol pessaries), and a new aerosol foam cream (Emko foam), and it was conducted entirely by post. This was the second trial of its kind organized by the Council for the Investigation of Fertility Control. The foaming tablet used was the same as that used in the first trial. Since the result obtained for this preparation in both trials was similar, it was possible to compare the results of all five products used in both trials. It was found that the pregnancy rates for the aerosol foam cream were considerably lower than those for any other chemical contraceptive yet tested in this way. Since it calls for no medical supervision, this would appear to be an important finding. There was little difference in the overall acceptability of the three different products, though the reasons for liking or disliking were different in each case.

An improved system of follow-up was used in this trial, and as a result, information was available for 72% of the possible woman months as compared with only 39·7% in the previous trial.

The writer suggests that the efficiency of the aerosol foam cream (Emko foam) may well be similar to mechanical methods of contraception, and it is hoped that it may be possible to arrange a comparative trial of Emko foam and the two most commonly used mechanical methods, the condom and the diaphragm.

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ELEANOR MEARS and N. W. PLEASE

Summary.

This trial was designed to compare the efficiency and acceptability of three different chemical contraceptive products — a gel, a foaming tablet and a cream, and to test the possibilities of a trial carried out entirely by post.

The percentage of volunteers dropping out of the trial at one stage or another was very high; in fact 41% of the volunteers were never heard of again after enrolment. Six hundred and seventy-eight volunteers enrolled and were sent supplies. The value of postal trials would seem to depend on being able to arrange a more adequate follow-up.

No appreciable difference had been found in the overall efficiency or acceptability of the three products used. The pregnancy rates were 37 per 100 years (3.1 per 100 woman months) for the protected groups and 109 per 100 years (9.1 per 100 woman months) for the unprotected group, the former being of the same order as some other trials involving chemical preparations only (Beebe, 1942; Seibels, 1944; Finkelstein, 1958). These pregnancy rates, however, are greater than those of some previous investigations (Finkelstein, Guttmacher & Goldberg, 1954), particularly where the method of contraception was a mechanical one (Stix & Notestein, 1940; Beebe, 1942; Tietze & Gamble, 1944).

Although the overall like/dislike totals are similar, the reasons for dislike vary with each product.

Much interesting material has become available and is being examined as the result of these trials on menstrual periods, coital patterns, birthcontrol habits, impressions about safe period, etc.