Expanded Phase I safety and acceptability study of 6% cellulose sulfate vaginal gel
An expanded Phase I trial was performed to assess the safety and acceptability of 6% cellulose sulfate gel (CS) in comparison with K-Y Jelly. Sexually abstinent (cohort I) and sexually active (cohort II) women in India, Nigeria and Uganda applied 3.5 ml of either 6% CS gel or K-Y Jelly for seven consecutive days. Safety was assessed by symptoms and signs (including colposcopy) of genital irritation, review of adverse events, and by changes in vaginal health as assessed by microscopy. One hundred and eighty women (90 on CS and 90 on K-Y Jelly) were enrolled. Baseline characteristics of women in both gel groups were similar. In cohort I, six (14%) women on CS and 12 (27%) on K-Y Jelly reported genital symptoms, two (in K-Y Jelly group) of whom withdrew from the study. New colposcopy findings or findings showing deterioration were detected in four (9%) women on CS and nine (21%) women on K-Y Jelly in cohort I. Two women on CS and three on K-Y Jelly in cohort II reported genital symptoms. Five women (11%) in each gel group in cohort II had new colposcopy findings or findings showing deterioration. The differences between the gel groups were not statistically significant. The majority of women had no problem with their assigned product. A vaginal application of 6% cellulose sulfate twice daily for seven consecutive days is as safe and well tolerated as a similar regimen of K-Y Jelly. Further development of 6% CS for prevention of HIV and pregnancy is recommended.