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Beyond The Headlines: Long vs Short-Acting Reversible Contraception – Comparing The Benefits

Women have more contraception options than ever before, which is only a good thing. But sometimes with great choice comes greater confusion - how do we choose when faced with multiple effective contraception methods? Well, it depends on what you want.

Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC, i.e. contraceptive implants, injections and intrauterine devices) is proven to be an effective method to help decrease unintended pregnanciesi, an important consideration for many women.

Now, new research[i] provides strong scientific evidence that long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) benefits a wider population of potential users than previously thought.

Satisfaction with choices

The study was conducted among 916 women aged 18-29 in America, who were initially seeking a short-acting method of contraception.

In a unique scientific method, all women in the study could choose to be randomised to receive either LARC or short-acting contraception (meaning they would not know in advance which type of contraception they would be receiving), or they chould choose to take their own preferred method.

Of the 916 participants, 43% chose randomisation and 57% chose the preference option.

The results show that women who tried long-acting methods , despite their general preference for oral contraceptives , were highly satisfied with LARC.

Moreover, the study showed that the decision to try a long-acting contraceptive prevented unintended pregnancy far better than using a short-acting method.

"Our research found scientific evidence that typical users of short-acting reversible contraception can find LARC highly acceptable," said Dr. David Hubacher, PhD, the study’s lead investigator.

Dr. Hubacher said that while not all women want to use LARC, the study results provide additional evidence for policy recommendations calling for wider access to LARC to improve reproductive health for adolescent girls and women.

For more information on LARC and all your contraception options visit


[i] David Hubacher et al. Long-acting reversible contraceptive acceptability and unintended pregnancy among women presenting for short-acting methods: a randomized patient preference trial, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2016.08.033



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