New York, NY — Today, the New England Journal of Medicine released a new study on the use of long-acting, reversible contraception (LARC) methods among teenage girls and women aged 15 to 19 years old.
The study provided teenage girls and women with accurate information about all their birth control options, including LARC methods like the IUD and implant, and supplied them with the method of their choice at no cost. Of the 1,400 teenage girls and women who participated, 72 percent chose an IUD or implant. The study found that participants had rates of pregnancy, birth, and abortion that were much lower than the national rates for sexually experienced teens.
“This study shows that the IUD and implant help reduce teen pregnancy,” said Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president of external medical affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “These methods are great birth control options for women who want the best possible pregnancy prevention and aren’t yet ready to start a family. IUDs and implants are safe for most women, including adolescents and women who have not yet had children, and they are an especially good option for young women who want to delay starting their families for a few years, so they can be the best parents they can be.
“At Planned Parenthood, we offer every woman the full range of contraceptive options — including the IUD and the implant — and complete information to help her make an informed decision about which method is best for her. IUDs and implants have extremely low failure rates — less than one percent — which rival the rates seen with permanent birth control. And unlike permanent birth control, your ability to get pregnant returns quickly once the device is removed.
“Long-acting reversible contraception doesn’t require women to remember to do something every day to prevent pregnancy, like taking the pill — or just before intercourse, or once a month, or even every three months, like other methods. Once an IUD or implant is inserted, you can pretty much just forget about it.
“One important thing to remember for people of all ages is that these methods don’t protect you from sexually transmitted diseases, so using condoms in addition to another form of birth control is the best way to prevent both pregnancy and STDs.
“Planned Parenthood wants all young people to have the information and resources they need to prevent unintended pregnancy, meet their life goals, and start their families when the time is right for them. We hope this study helps raise awareness about the safety and efficacy of IUDs and implants among women of all ages, and especially among young women.”
Every year, Planned Parenthood provides family planning counseling and contraception to 2.1 million patients. Planned Parenthood offers women information and education on the full range of birth control options to help them make informed decisions about which contraceptive method is best for them. Planned Parenthood always provides patients with information about the benefits and risks of any specific birth control method and answers any questions they may have when helping each woman choose the method that’s best for her.
- During the 2008–2013 period, the mean annual rates of pregnancy, birth, and abortion among study participants were 34.0, 19.4, and 9.7 per 1,000 teens, respectively. In comparison, rates of pregnancy, birth, and abortion among sexually experienced U.S. teens in 2008 were 158.5, 94.0, and 41.5 per 1,000, respectively.
- The rates of pregnancy, birth, and abortion for study participants were substantially lower than national rates among all U.S. teens, particularly when compared with sexually experienced U.S. teens. This was true among both older teens (18 to 19 years old) and younger teens, as well as among both white and black teens.
- Of the 1,400 teenage girls and women who participated, 72 percent chose an IUD or implant. Within the study’s timeframe, no pregnancies occurred with the copper IUD or the implant.
- Teens using an IUD or implant continued to use their method longer than shorter-acting methods such as the pill; two-thirds of these teens were still using their LARC method at 24 months, compared with only one-third of teens using a non-LARC method.
Background on LARCs:
- Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) methods like the IUD and implant are the most effective methods of birth control available.
- LARC methods are safe and effective for a wide variety of women, including those who have not yet had children.
- This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced an update to its contraception policy, recommending that LARC methods be the first-line birth control option for adolescents.
- The rate of LARC use among teens 15 to 19 years old in the U.S. had increased from less than 1% in 2002 to almost 5% in 2009.
- LARC methods are also the most cost-effective methods of birth control, since they can provide coverage for up to 12 years.
- In 2009, 8.5 percent of women using contraceptives relied on a LARC method, an increase from 5.5 percent in 2007 and 2.4 percent in 2002. Most of the women who use long-acting reversible contraception methods use IUDs.
- Up-front cost can be a barrier for some women interested in using a LARC method. An IUD typically costs between $500 and $1,000, which covers the exam, insertion, and follow-up visit. Under the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit, millions more women now have access to no-copay birth control, including LARC methods.
- Data published in 2012 from the Contraceptive CHOICE study showed that access to birth control counseling and methods without cost-sharing — as in the Affordable Care Act's birth control benefit — leads to significantly lower rates of unintended pregnancy. The full study followed more than 9,200 women and teens over four years, and found that when women have full information about the different types of birth control and full coverage of the cost of the method they select, many will choose IUDs or implants. Seventy-five percent of participants chose a LARC method, a much greater rate than originally predicted.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
October 01, 2014