This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (25 JAN 2006)

Intervention Review

Non-latex versus latex male condoms for contraception

  1. MF Gallo,
  2. DA Grimes,
  3. KF Schulz

Editorial Group: Cochrane Fertility Regulation Group

Published Online: 22 APR 2003

DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003550

How to Cite

Gallo MF, Grimes DA, Schulz KF. Non-latex versus latex male condoms for contraception. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2003, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD003550. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003550.

Author Information

*Maria Gallo, Research and Evaluation Associate, IPAS, 300 Market Street, suite 200, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, NC 27516, USA. gallom@ipas.org.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 22 APR 2003

SEARCH

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (25 JAN 2006)

 

Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Synopsis

Background

The male condom, which consists of a thin sheath placed over the glans and shaft of the penis, is designed to prevent pregnancy by providing a physical barrier against the deposition of semen into the vagina during intercourse. Beginning in the 1990s, nonlatex male condoms made of polyurethane film or synthetic elastomers were developed as alternative male barrier methods for individuals with allergies, sensitivities or preferences that prevented the consistent use of condoms made of latex.

Objectives

The review sought to evaluate nonlatex male condoms in comparison with latex condoms in terms of contraceptive efficacy, breakage, slippage, safety and user preferences.

Search strategy

We searched the the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE using PubMed, EMBASE, Popline, and LILACS for randomized controlled trials of nonlatex condoms. The references of eligible publications were assessed for inclusion. We also wrote to the manufacturers of nonlatex condoms and known investigators in an attempt to locate any other published or unpublished trials not identified in our search.

Selection criteria

The review included all randomized controlled trials identified in the literature search that evaluated a male nonlatex condom made of polyurethane film or synthetic elastomers in comparison with a latex condom.

Data collection and analysis

We evaluated all titles and abstracts located in the literature searches for inclusion in the review. Two reviewers independently extracted data from the identified studies. We entered and analyzed data with RevMan 4.1. Peto odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for the outcomes contraceptive efficacy, condom breakage and slippage, discontinuation of use, safety and user preference. The number of condoms, men, or women was used as the denominator for the ORs. Contraceptive efficacy, early discontinuation, and safety outcomes were also measured with survival analysis techniques and entered into "Additional tables."

Main results

While the eZ·on condom did not protect against pregnancy as well as its latex comparison condom, no differences were found in the typical-use efficacy in the comparisons between the Avanti and the Standard Tactylon and their latex counterparts. The nonlatex condoms were associated with higher rates of clinical breakage than their latex comparison condoms. The statistically significant odds ratios for clinical breakage for the nonlatex condoms versus their latex comparisons ranged from 2.6 (95% CI: 1.6 to 4.3) to 5.0 (95% CI: 3.6 to 6.8). Few adverse events were reported. In almost all of the comparisons, substantial proportions of participants preferred the nonlatex condom or reported that they would recommend its use to others.

Authors' conclusions

Although the nonlatex condoms were associated with higher rates of clinical breakage than their latex comparison condoms, the new condoms still provide an acceptable alternative for those with allergies, sensitivities or preferences that might prevent the consistent use of latex condoms. The contraceptive efficacy of the nonlatex condoms requires more research.

 

Synopsis

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Synopsis

Synopsis

Non-latex condoms are more likely to break than latex condoms, but are still useful for contraception for people who are allergic or sensitive to latex

The male condom is designed to prevent pregnancy by providing a physical barrier against semen entering the vagina during intercourse. Non-latex condoms are an alternative for people with allergies, sensitivities or preferences that prevented consistent use of latex condoms. The review of trials found that the eZ-on condom does not protect against pregnancy as well as latex condoms, although Avanti and the Standard Tactylon condoms may have similar results to latex condoms. Non-latex condoms were preferred by many people. They may be more likely to break but could still be useful for people who are allergic or sensitive to latex.