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Citric acid, lactic acid, and potassium bitartrate

Generic name: citric acid, lactic acid, and potassium bitartrate [ SIT-rik-AS-id, LAK-tik-AS-id, and-poe-TASS-ee-um-bye-TAR-trate ]
Brand name: Phexxi
Dosage form: vaginal gel (1%-1.8%-0.4%)
Drug class: Miscellaneous vaginal agents

Medically reviewed by on Sep 5, 2022. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is Phexxi (citric acid, lactic acid, and potassium bitartrate)?

Phexxi is a combination medicine used to prevent pregnancy. Phexxi is an on-demand method of birth control that does not contain hormones.

Phexxi must be used before sexual activity. Phexxi is not a "morning-after" birth control.

Phexxi may be used in combination with other methods of birth control (including a condom, diaphragm, birth control pills, patches, inserts, implants, or injections).

Avoid using Phexxi in combination with a vaginal ring.

Phexxi may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.


Follow all directions on the product label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

Do not use Phexxi if you are already pregnant.

You should not use Phexxi if you have a history of frequent bladder infections or other problems with your urinary tract.

Tell your doctor if you've ever had an allergic reaction to any product that contains citric acid, lactic acid, potassium bitartrate, glycerin, xanthan gum, alginic acid, sodium hydroxide, or benzoic acid.

Tell your doctor if you recently had an abortion or miscarriage, or if you recently gave birth to a baby. Your doctor will tell you when it is safe to use Phexxi after any of these events.

Phexxi will not protect you from HIV or other sexually transmitted disease.

It may not be safe to breastfeed while using Phexxi. Ask your doctor about any risk.

How should I use Phexxi?

Use Phexxi before having vaginal sex. Phexxi will not work if you use it after having sex.

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use Phexxi exactly as directed. You may get pregnant if you do not carefully follow all instructions for use.

Phexxi may be used at any time during your menstrual cycle.

Phexxi is a vaginal gel provided in a prefilled vaginal applicator. Each applicator is for one use only. Insert the gel into your vagina within 1 hour before you have sex.

If you have sex more than once in a 1-hour period, you must insert another dose.

Phexxi may be used in combination with other methods of birth control (including a condom, diaphragm, or birth control pills, patches, inserts, implants, or injections).

Do not use Phexxi in combination with a vaginal ring.

Store Phexxi in the foil pouch at room temperature, away from moisture and heat. Use right away after opening the pouch.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since Phexxi is used when needed, it does not have a regular dosing schedule.

If you do not have sex within 1 hour after inserting the gel, you must insert another dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while using Phexxi?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Phexxi side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Phexxi may cause a bladder or kidney infection. Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • pain or burning when you urinate;

  • urine that looks cloudy; or

  • pain in your flank, side, or lower back.

Stop using Phexxi if it causes severe irritation in or around your vagina.

Common side effects of citric acid, lactic acid, and potassium bitartrate may include:

  • a bladder infection;

  • vaginal burning, itching, or discomfort;

  • vaginal itching or discharge; or

  • bacterial or fungal infection in the vagina.

If you need to use any vaginal medication to treat a vaginal infection, you may keep using Phexxi.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Citric acid, lactic acid, and potassium bitartrate dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Contraception:

1 prefilled applicatorful vaginally immediately before (or up to 1 hour before) each episode of vaginal intercourse.

-This product is not effective if administered after intercourse.
-May use at any point in the menstrual cycle.
-An additional dose must be given if more than one act of vaginal intercourse occurs within one hour.
-May use as soon as it is safe to have vaginal intercourse after childbirth, abortion, or miscarriage.
-May use concomitantly with hormonal contraceptives, condoms (latex, polyurethane, and polyisoprene), and vaginal diaphragms; avoid use with vaginal rings.
-May use concomitantly with vaginal infection treatments including miconazole, metronidazole, and tioconazole.

Use: On-demand contraception in females of reproductive potential

What other drugs will affect Phexxi?

Other drugs may affect citric acid, lactic acid, and potassium bitartrate, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

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Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.