Update on long-acting reversible methods

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Purpose of review

The last several years have seen a number of important clinical and academic advances in long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods, such that many professional medical organizations now recommend these methods as first-line contraception for all women.

Recent findings

Recent data support the use of LARC in a variety of special circumstances including adolescents, nulliparous women and immediately postpartum and postabortion. Evidence also shows that traditional methods of pain control with intrauterine device (IUD) insertion and cervical preparation prior to insertion may not be warranted. Further, the extended use of IUDs is safer and more effective than previously realized.


The rising uptake of LARC methods in the United States has the potential to dramatically decrease undesired pregnancies and abortion rates, and should be considered an effective option in the majority of women.

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