Pharmacia is dedicated to providing information and products to help Canadian women. Pharmacia is a leader in the areas of breast cancer, birth control, menopause and other conditions that women may experience throughout their lives. Most recently, Pharmacia has pioneered a new birth control that is convenient and very effective. The following pages are designed to give you information on all types of birth control. Pharmacia is committed to providing balanced information so that you have the freedom to choose the birth control that’s right for you.

Choosing the Right Method

When choosing a contraception method, a vast number of options are now available. This area describes the various methods of contraception that are available to you and your partner. Everyone is different, what works for one may not work for another.

Below is a chart comparing the effectiveness of various birth control methods, along with a brief description of each birth control type.

Injectable Contraception

Depo-Provera® is one of the most reliable, reversible contraceptive methods available today. It is a prescription medication that requires an almost painless injection into the upper arm or buttocks by a doctor or other health care provider once every three months. Unlike the ‘Pill’, it does not need to be taken every day.

Oral Contraceptive Pill (OC)

The ‘Pill’ is a small prescription tablet which is taken once a day, in sequence, until every pill in the package is used up. There are two types of birth control pills – the combination pill and the minipill. The combination pill contains both an estrogen and a progestin, whereas the minipill contains a progestin only.

Contraceptive Implant – Norplant

The contraceptive implant is a prescription birth control system consisting of six small, flexible rods containing a synthetic hormone. An in-office surgical procedure using a local anesthetic is required to insert the rods under the skin. The rods are implanted for a period of five years and can be removed surgically at any time.

Condom (Female)

The female condom is a birth control device that fits inside the vagina. It is made of pre-lubricated polyurethane, and is available over the counter without a prescription.

Condom (Male)

A condom is a latex, rubber or ‘lambskin’ sheath that fits over the penis. They are available over the counter with or without added spermicide.

Diaphragm and Cervical Cap

A diaphragm is a flexible rubber or plastic barrier that is intended to fit securely over the cervix. Similarly, the cervical cap is a thimble-shaped rubber or plastic dome. For a correct fit, each requires a pelvic examination by a health care provider.


The Vaginal Contraceptive Sponge is a small, disposable plastic (polyurethane) foam device measuring approximately five centimetres in diameter. The sponge can be purchased in a drug store without a prescription.

Vaginal Spermicide

Vaginal spermicides include creams, jellies, foams and vaginal inserts or suppositories. Vaginal spermicides are sold in drug stores without a prescription.

Fertility Awareness Methods

Fertility Awareness Methods are designed to help determine on which days of the menstrual cycle a woman is likely to become pregnant.

Tubal Sterilization

Female sterilization, often called a tubal ligation or getting ‘tubes tied’, requires a surgical procedure that closes the fallopian tubes between the ovaries and the uterus. Male sterilization is known as a vasectomy. A vasectomy requires a surgical procedure that closes the small tubes through which sperm are released.