Long-acting Reversible Contraceptive (LARC)
Long-acting Reversible Contraceptive (LARC) devises are birth control methods that provides effective contraceptive for an extended period of time. You do not have to think about contraception on a daily basis or every time you have sex, as with the oral contraceptive pills or condoms. Long acting reversible contraceptive is highly effective in preventing unintended pregnancies and can be stopped if you decide you want to get pregnant.
Long-acting Reversible Contraceptive (LARC) includes the following:
Implants – these are inserted under the skin and lasts up to 3 years
Intrauterine device – these are inserted into the womb and lasts for 5-10 years before they need replacing
Contraceptive injection– these work up to 12 weeks before being repeated.
|Copper IUD||IUS||Progesterone-only injection||Implant (Nexaplanon)|
|What is it?||A small plastic and copper device which is inserted into the womb||A small plastic device which is inserted into the womb and slowly releases progestogen||An injection that slowly releases progestogen||A small, flexible rod inserted under the skin that slowly releases progestogen|
|How does it work?||Prevents fertilization and inhibits implantation of egg in the womb||Mainly prevents implantation of egg and sometimes prevents fertilization||Prevents ovulation||Prevents ovulation|
|How long does it last?||5-10 years depending on type||5 years||Repeat injection every 8-12 weeks depending on type||3 years|
|Chances of getting pregnant||Less than 2% of women over a 5 year period||Less than 1% of women over a 5 year` period||Less than 0.4% over a 2 year period||Less than 0.1% of women over 3 year period|
|Could it affect chances of getting pregnant in the future||No||No||It may take up to a year for fertility to return to normal||No|
|Effect on period?||Periods may become heavier or more painful||For the first 6 months there may be irregular bleeding or spotting||Periods often stop, but some women experience irregular or persistent||Period pains may improve. Periods may stop, or become longer or irregular until removal of implant|
|Unwanted effects?||Risk of ectopic pregnancy is higher if a women falls pregnant while using an IUD||Risk of ectopic pregnancy is higher if a women falls pregnant while using an IUD May develop acne||May gain weight (2-3kg over a years) May cause thinning of the bones which is reversible on stopping||May develop acne|
|Checks needed whilst using LARC||Needs check-up after first period after insertion. Regularly feel for threads of IUD to ensure it is still in place. See doctor/nurse if you experience any problem or want to have it removed.||Needs check-up after first period after insertion. Regularly feel for threads of IUD to ensure it is still in place. See doctor/nurse if you experience any problem or want to have it removed.||None – you need to regularly receive repeat injection. See your doctor or nurse if you experience any problems related to the injection.||None. See your doctor or nurse if you experience any problems related to the implant, want to stop using it or have it removed.|
Should you wish to use a Long-acting Reversible Contraception please see our Contraception and Family Planning page.
Page created by: Dr Horrocks – Women’s Health Lead, Beacon Medical Group
Updated: October 2020