Intravaginal administration

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Administering medication vaginally using an applicator.
Administering medication vaginally without an applicator.

Intravaginal administration is a route of administration where the substance is applied inside the vagina. Pharmacologically, it has the potential advantage to result in effects primarily in the vagina or nearby structures (such as the vaginal portion of cervix) with limited systemic adverse effects compared to other routes of administration.[1][2][3]

Formulation methods include vaginal tablets, vaginal cream, vaginal gel,[4] vaginal suppository and vaginal ring.

Medicines primarily delivered by intravaginal administration include vaginally administered estrogens and progestogens (a group of hormones including progesterone), and antibacterials and antifungals to treat bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections respectively.

Medicines may also be administered intravaginally as an alternative to oral route in the case of nausea or other digestive problems.[5]

It is a potential means of artificial insemination (referred to as intravaginal insemination or IVI), sometimes used at home without the presence of a professional.[6]

It is used as a method of on-demand contraception.[4]


  1. ^ Alexander, Nancy J.; Baker, Edward; Kaptein, Marc; Karck, Ulrich; Miller, Leslie; Zampaglione, Edio (2004-07-01). "Why consider vaginal drug administration?". Fertility and Sterility. 82 (1): 1–12. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2004.01.025. ISSN 0015-0282. PMID 15236978.
  2. ^ Hussain, Alamdar; Ahsan, Fakhrul (2005-03-21). "The vagina as a route for systemic drug delivery". Journal of Controlled Release. 103 (2): 301–313. doi:10.1016/j.jconrel.2004.11.034. ISSN 0168-3659. PMID 15763615.
  3. ^ "6.4 Administering Medications Rectally and Vaginally | Clinical Procedures for Safer Patient Care". Retrieved 2017-05-02.
  4. ^ a b "U.S. FDA Approves Evofem Biosciences' Phexxi (lactic acid, citric acid and potassium bitartrate), the First and Only Non-Hormonal Prescription Gel for the Prevention of Pregnancy". Evofem Biosciences (Press release). 22 May 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2020 – via PR Newswire.
  5. ^ Woolfson, A. David; Malcolm, R. Karl; Gallagher, Rory (2000-01-01). "Drug Delivery by the Intravaginal Route". Critical Reviews in Therapeutic Drug Carrier Systems. 17 (5): 47. doi:10.1615/CritRevTherDrugCarrierSyst.v17.i5.30. ISSN 0743-4863.
  6. ^ European Sperm Bank USA