Helping women choose appropriate hormonal contraception: update on risks, benefits, and indications

Am J Med. 2009 Jun;122(6):497-506. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2009.01.016.


Primary care physicians frequently provide contraceptive counseling to women who are interested in family planning, have medical conditions that may be worsened by pregnancy, or have medical conditions that necessitate the use of potentially teratogenic medications. Effective counseling requires up-to-date knowledge about hormonal contraceptive methods that differ in hormone dosage, cycle length, and hormone-free intervals and are delivered by oral, transdermal, transvaginal, injectable, or implantable routes. Effective counseling also requires an understanding of a woman's preferences and medical history as well as the risks, benefits, side effects, and contraindications of each contraceptive method. This article is designed to update physicians on this information.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Contraception / methods*
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / administration & dosage*
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / adverse effects
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / administration & dosage
  • Counseling*
  • Desogestrel / administration & dosage
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Family Planning Services
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Levonorgestrel / administration & dosage
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / administration & dosage
  • Ovulation Inhibition / drug effects
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Women's Health*
  • World Health Organization


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal
  • etonogestrel
  • Levonorgestrel
  • Desogestrel
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate