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Increasing the use of long-acting contraception in primary care

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Progesterone-only intra-uterine systems, such as Mirena or Jaydess offer up to five years of low-maintenance contraception

Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) are cost-effective methods of controlling fertility allowing many women to achieve the sex lives that they want free from the risk of pregnancy.1 They also have many non-contraceptive benefits in controlling heavy, painful periods and as part of hormone replacement therapy during the perimenopause.

Primary care nurses are invaluable in increasing the uptake of long-acting reversible methods of contraception. Investing in training and developing skills for contraceptive care and LARC delivery is money well spent not only because all LARCs are cost effective at one year of use, but also the reduction in routine follow-up consultation time especially with the newer self-delivery methods of injectable methods.2

NICE guidelines1 recommend that all women requesting contraception should be offered all methods of contraception, including long-acting methods. NICE also promotes identifying referral pathways to other providers should that practice be unable to provide this service themselves. So being able to confidently and competently discuss all methods of contraception is best practice.

What are long-acting reversible contraception methods?

A LARC can be defined as a contraceptive method that requires administration less than once per cycle or month.3

Long-acting methods are:

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