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Majority of Women Happy With Long-Term Contraceptives; Methods Still Unpopular

Majority of Women Happy With Long-Term Contraceptives; Methods Still Unpopular

November 18, 2013 — More than 90% of women who choose to use long-term reversible contraceptives do so for at least six months, according to a study published in this month's Obstetrics and Gynecology journal, Reuters/NBC News reports. Such methods include intrauterine devices and contraceptive implants.

Study Details

For the study, around 6,000 women between ages 14 and 45 chose to begin using either a levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device sold by Mirena, a copper device sold by ParaGard or a contraceptive implant sold by Implanon. Researchers then counseled the women about the methods and kept track of if, when and why women stopped using the contraceptives.

The study found that roughly 7% of women using the levonorgestrel intrauterine device or implants and around 8% of those using the copper device chose to have the devices removed within six months. The rate that younger women chose to remove the devices was the same as the rate for older women, according to the study.

Reaction

According to Reuters/NBC News, the findings indicate that most women did not have side effects, such as cramping or bleeding, that were serious enough for them to stop using the devices.

Tessa Madden, the study's lead author and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said, "There is a perception among health care providers that women discontinue these methods rapidly," but the study should "reassure providers that the discontinuation rate is not a big concern."

Gina Secura, an epidemiologist who also works at the university and was involved in the study, noted, "Many providers and clinic staff incorrectly believe that young women will quickly discontinue these (long-acting) methods because of side effects. Because of this misconception, providers and clinics are reluctant to offer long-acting reversible contraceptive methods to many young women."

Madden said, "Studies like this will encourage providers to use these methods more and to not create additional barriers for women to get the most effective methods" (Bond, Reuters/NBC News, 11/13).