Advances in Contraception: IUDs from a Managed Care Perspective

Doyle, John; Stern, Lee; Hagan, Michael; Hao, Jiayi; Gricar, Joseph
July 2008
Journal of Women's Health (15409996);Jul/Aug2008, Vol. 17 Issue 6, p987
Academic Journal
Contraceptive use in the United States is virtually universal among women of reproductive age. However, unplanned pregnancies continue to occur and can be largely attributed to the nonuse and misuse of contraception. Reducing unintended pregnancies constitutes a critical goal for managed care and the public. This can be achieved in part with intrauterine devices (IUDs), which are an effective method of contraception that require a one-time insertion and stay in place for 5–10 years. Therefore, compliance issues are largely mitigated, and actual use efficacy is the same as perfect use efficacy. The IUD is also reversible, unlike tubal ligation, and could potentially be the contraceptive of choice in today's environment. Unfortunately, safety concerns surrounding the use of older IUDs have precluded many women from recognizing the benefits of their use. Currently, the only approved IUDs in the United States are ParaGard®, the copper IUD, and Mirena®, the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS). These devices offer superior safety profiles compared with those products that were withdrawn from the market in the 1970s. In addition to a favorable safety and tolerability profile, the LNG-IUS offers an advantage over copper IUDs, demonstrating improved efficacy in preventing intrauterine and ectopic pregnancies. Successful communication between patients and providers regarding the improved safety and efficacy of newer IUDs will ensure an appropriate place in therapy. Thus, greater numbers of women will recognize the IUD as a safe, cost-effective means to contraception, thereby reducing the economic and social burdens associated with unplanned pregnancies.


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