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Long acting reversible contraception options

Long acting reversible contraception options

LARC is an acronym that stands for “long acting reversible contraception” and refers to intrauterine devices (IUDs) and the birth control implant.  These methods are highly effective in preventing pregnancy, last for several years, and are safe to use.  They do not provide any protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).  Currently available IUDs are Paragard®, Mirena®, and Skyla®; the birth control implant is called Nexplanon®.

The IUD and the implant are the most effective forms of reversible birth control currently available. During the first year of typical use, fewer than 1 in 100 women using an IUD or an implant will become pregnant.  The failure rate is 0.2-0.8%, which is in the same range as that for sterilization. The typical failure rate for birth control pills, rings and patches is 9%.

There are many benefits to LARC methods.  Once they are in place, there is nothing else to do for contraception; they do not interrupt sex or other daily activities.  Almost all women can use a LARC method, including women who have never given birth.  These methods can be used while breastfeeding.   The hormonal IUD can reduce menstrual blood flow and cramping.   They are effective for several years (up to 10 years for the copper IUD!)  And, if you wish to become pregnant after using a LARC, your provider will remove the device and your ability to conceive returns immediately.

The websites listed below can provide you with additional information.  If you think you might be interested in a LARC method, make an appointment to discuss your options with one of our providers.

By Dr. Leslie Newman, DNP.