Birth control pills were first released in the 1960s, and since then the variety and choice in contraception has only expanded. Picking what’s right for you can be a bit overwhelming and confusing, but at Seattle Women’s we want you to be informed so we’ve put together a brief summary of the popular options and how they work. You may have heard the news that the American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC) as preferred methods of birth control for young people who choose to be sexually active. And for everyone else? In 2009, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommended that these same methods be offered as a first-line choice for all eligible women.
So what are LARC’s?
• Intrauterine devices and systems (IUD and IUS) inserted in the uterus
o Skyla®- a hormone secreting IUS lasting for 3 years
o Mirena®-a hormone secreting IUS lasting for 5 years
o Paragard®-a copper containing IUD lasts for up to 10 years
• Nexplanon®-a hormonal implant inserted in the arm and lasting for 3 years
However, implants and IUDs aren’t for everyone. Since the release of the first birth control pill in 1960, many more pills have been released, and many improvements have been made — fewer side effects, much lower doses, less acne, less nausea, less bleeding, and less weight gain. Pills, patches and rings are in high demand, with new ones being tested all the time.
• A once-weekly option for delivery of hormonal contraception
o An Investigational Contraceptive Patch is in Phase III trials across the US and in our office. This patch has hormone levels similar to low dose contraceptive pills.
o The “Ortho-Evra®” patch is currently available but not widely used because the hormone levels have been found to exceed those commonly used in modern birth control pills.
• The most commonly used pills are a combination of both estrogen and a progestin,
• Progestin-only pills are less common but eliminate the estrogen, and are therefore appropriate for women who cannot or prefer not to take estrogen.
• An Investigational Contraceptive Pill containing the unique progestin, “drosperinone”, is in clinical trials internationally and in our office.
• Nuvaring® is the only contraceptive ring currently available, containing both estrogen and progestin in a flexible vaginal ring that is changed monthly. It works by delivering hormones to your system via vaginal absorption and can remain in place during intercourse.
• A new progestin only contraceptive ring will begin international trials in the spring of 2015.*
At Seattle Women’s we are privileged to be able to offer you all of the options above.
• If you are interested in a contraceptive that is already on the market, please call to schedule a contraceptive counseling visit.
• If you are interested in one of our patch, ring or pill studies pleasecontact us for more information.
We are proud to have been principal investigators researching almost all of the new contraceptives that have become available to women in the last two decades. Our research, and our combined 50 + years of clinical experience, allow us to provide you with the most comprehensive options available and meet your individual needs. Call us today to schedule an appointment.
FEATURED STUDIES AT SEATTLE WOMEN’S
• Birth Control Patch
• Birth Control Pill