Long-Acting Contraceptives


A new study, to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine, confirms that long-acting forms of contraception such as intrauterine devices and implants are more effective than birth control pills and patches in preventing pregnancies. The study involved 7,500 women in The Contraceptive Choice Project: a project to promote long-acting birth control to reduce unintended pregnancies.

Currently in the United States, there are an estimated three million unplanned pregnancies. These unplanned pregnancies often result from incorrect or inconsistent use of contraception. The Contraceptive Choice project is being run by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and found that long-acting contraception is approximately twenty times more effective at preventing pregnancy than pills, patches or vaginal rings. According to Dr. Jeffrey Peipert, a professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Washington University, “IUDs and implants are more effective because women can forget about them after clinicians put the devices into place.” Unlike birth control pills, long-acting contraceptives take the margin of human error out of the equation.

Birth control pills are currently the most common form of birth control used in the United States, however, women need to take the pills daily in order for them to be effective. Dr. Peipert hopes the results of this study will prompt more clinicians to counsel women to consider IUDs and implants because it could greatly reduce unintended pregnancies. It is worth noting that Dr. Peipert currently trains clinicians on how to implant a contraceptive device made by Merck & Co. and Washington University currently receives fees from the company.

If you do not want to become pregnant for several years, a long-acting form of birth control may be an excellent option for you. To discuss the available contraceptive options and determine which one is best for you, visit a qualified Gynecologist in your local area.