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15-10-2012 | General practice | Article

LARCs ‘should be promoted in under 25s’

Abstract

Free abstract

medwireNews: A large proportion of young women who begin hormonal contraception stop taking it within a year while often failing to use an alternative form of protection, show the results of a large, American study.

After 12 months, less than 40% of 1024 women aged 15-24 years who had been prescribed hormonal contraceptives for the first time were still taking them. Furthermore, overall condom use declined by a third.

The authors also found that only 46% of women who discontinued condom use after being prescribed hormonal contraceptives resumed using them once they had stopped their hormonal contraception.

They say that their findings highlight the need to inform young women about long-acting reversible contraception (LARC).

"With the understanding that many women discontinue these hormonal methods over time, promotion of [LARC], including copper and progestin-releasing IUDs and implants, is essential," write Tina Raine (University of California, San Francisco, USA) and colleagues in the Journal of Adolescent Medicine.

However, they also caution that the importance of continued condom use may become lost during family planning consultations.

"With a focus on getting women to initiate hormonal methods for pregnancy prevention, it is unclear whether ample attention is given to method continuation and contingency planning in the event of method discontinuation," they write.

Since 2009, an indicator of the proportion of women receiving oral and emergency contraception who have been informed about LARC has been included in the QOF framework. However, GPs have reported problems with funding and training, which have impeded their ability to provide these forms of contraception.

Earlier this month, the RCGP announced it had formed a new training agreement with the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare to increase access to LARCs through more efficient GP training.

medwireNews (www.medwire-news.md) is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Kirsty Oswald