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.

IUPAC name
Preferred IUPAC name
Other names
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.043.454
EC Number
  • 247-816-5
MeSH Nonoxynol
Molar mass 616.833 g·mol−1
log P 4.02
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
N verify (what is YN ?)
Infobox references



As a spermicide, it attacks the acrosomal membranes of the sperm, causing the sperm to be immobilized. Nonoxynol-9 is the active ingredient in most spermicidal creams, jellies, foams, gel, film, and suppositories.

A 2004 study found that over a six-month period, the typical-use failure rates for five nonoxynol-9 vaginal contraceptives (film, suppository, and gels at three different concentrations) ranged from 10% to 20%.[2]


Many models of condoms are lubricated with solutions containing nonoxynol-9. In this role, it has been promoted as a backup method for avoiding pregnancy and a microbicide for sexually transmitted diseases in the event of condom failure. However, the 2001 WHO / CONRAD Technical Consultation on Nonoxynol-9 concluded that: There is no published scientific evidence that N-9-lubricated condoms provide any additional protection against pregnancy or STDs compared with condoms lubricated with other products. Since adverse effects due to the addition of N-9 to condoms cannot be excluded, such condoms should no longer be promoted. However, it is better to use N-9-lubricated condoms than no condoms.[3]

Compared to regular lubricated condoms, condoms containing nonoxynol-9 present another disadvantage — they have a shorter shelf life.

Cervical barriers

Almost all brands of diaphragm jelly contain nonoxynol-9 as the active ingredient. This jelly may also be used for a cervical cap. Most contraceptive sponges contain nonoxynol-9 as an active ingredient.

Shaving cream

Nonoxynol-9 is sometimes included in shaving creams for its properties as a nonionic surfactant; it helps break down skin oils that normally protect hair from moisture, so that they become wet and, hence, softer and easier to shave. Gillette formerly used nonoxynol-9 for this purpose in its Foamy products, but has discontinued the practice.

Sports cream

Nonoxynol-9 is also found in Bengay Vanishing Scent as an inactive ingredient.

Poison ivy creams

Nonoxynol-9 is also found in Zanfel poison ivy cream. It effectively helps to break up the oil urushiol that causes the rash.

Side effects

From 1996 to 2000, a UN-sponsored study conducted in several locations in Africa followed nearly 1,000 sex workers who used nonoxynol-9 gels or a placebo. The HIV infection rate among those using nonoxynol-9 was about 50% higher than those who used the placebo; those using nonoxynol-9 also had a higher incidence of vaginal lesions, which may have contributed to this increased risk. Whereas these results may not be directly applicable to lower-frequency use, these findings combined with lack of any demonstrated HIV-prevention benefit from nonoxynol-9 use led the World Health Organization to recommend that it no longer be used by those at high risk of HIV infection. The WHO further notes that "Nonoxynol-9 offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhoea, chlamydia."[3] A 2006 study of a nonoxynol-9 vaginal gel in female sex workers in Africa concluded that it did not prevent genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and could increase the virus's ability to infect or persist.[4]


  1. IUPAC Chemical Nomenclature and Structure Representation Division (2013). "P-51.4.1". In Favre, Henri A.; Powell, Warren H. (eds.). Nomenclature of Organic Chemistry: IUPAC Recommendations and Preferred Names 2013. IUPACRSC. ISBN 978-0-85404-182-4.
  2. Raymond, Elizabeth G.; Lien Chen, Pai; Luoto, Joanne; for the Spermicide Trial Group (March 2004). "Contraceptive effectiveness and safety of five nonoxynol-9 spermicides: a randomized trial". Obstetrics & Gynecology. 103 (3): 430–439. doi:10.1097/01.AOG.0000113620.18395.0b. PMID 14990402.
  3. Siegfried, Nandi (September 25, 2003). "Nonoxynol-9 for preventing vaginal acquisition of HIV infection by women from men". Reproductive Health Library. Geneva: World Health Organization. Retrieved February 21, 2010.
  4. Marais, Dianne; Carrara, Henri; Kay, Patti; Ramjee, Gita; Allan, Bruce; Williamson, Anna-Lise (November 2006). "The impact of the use of COL-1492, a nonoxynol-9 vaginal gel, on the presence of cervical human papillomavirus in female sex workers". Virus Research. 121 (2): 220–222. doi:10.1016/j.virusres.2006.04.009. PMID 16860426.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.