Review Article

Long-acting reversible contraception for adolescents

Gina Bravata, Dilip R. Patel, Hatim A. Omar


Long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods are the recommended methods for adolescents and young adult women. Etonogestrel subdermal implant, the copper intrauterine device and levonorgestrel intrauterine devices are the currently used LARC methods. LARC methods provide effective contraception by preventing fertilization; however, none has an abortifacient effect. The etonogestrel implant is the most effective method with a Pearl index of 0.05. None of the LARC methods has any adverse effect on bone mineral density. Rare safety concerns associated with intrauterine device use include device expulsion, uterine perforation, pelvic inflammatory disease, and ectopic pregnancy. Fertility resumes rapidly upon discontinuation of LARC method. A number of factors have been shown to be barriers or facilitators of LARC method use by adolescents. This article reviews clinical aspects of use for LARC methods for the primary care medical practitioner.

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