May 24, 2012

Most Effective Birth Control

(Ivanhoe Newswire)–Nearly half of all unintended pregnancies in the United States are due to contraceptive failure, and it´s largely because of inconsistent or incorrect use. That´s what researchers at Washington University concluded after studying the effectiveness of long-acting reversible contraception.

Birth-control pills are the most commonly used reversible contraceptive in the country, but they´re only effective if women remember to take a pill every day and have easy access to refills.

For the study, the researchers designed a large cohort study to promote the use of long-acting reversible contraceptive methods as a means of reducing unintended pregnancies. Participants were provided with reversible contraception of their choice, for free. The experts compared the rate of failure of long-acting reversible contraception IUDs with other commonly prescribed contraceptive methods like transdermal patch, contraceptive vaginal ring, oral contraceptive pills, and depot medroxyprogesterone acetate injections.

For those under 21 who used birth-control pills, the patch or ring, the risk of unplanned pregnancy was almost twice as high as the risk among older women. However, rates of unintended pregnancy were low among participants using DMPA injection and those using an IUD or implant, regardless of age.

The findings suggest that increased adolescent use of longer acting contraceptive methods could prevent substantially more unplanned pregnancies. Researchers concluded that the effectiveness of long-acting reversible contraception is superior to that of contraceptive pills, patch, or ring and is not altered in adolescents and young women.

Source: New England Journal of Medicine, May 2012.