Objectives: To determine the use of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) in the UK over the period 2004 to 2010, using the general practice database The Health Improvement Network (THIN).
Methods: Women in THIN, aged 18 to 44 years during 2004 to 2010, who had been registered with their general practitioner for at least five years, with a prescription history of at least one year were included. THIN was searched using the Read and MULTILEX codes for: copper intrauterine devices (Cu-IUDs), the levonorgestrel releasing-intrauterine system (LNG-IUS), progestogen-only implants, and progestogen-only injections.
Results: The prevalence of progestogen-only implant use rose from 0.5 to 3.4%, and that of the LNG-IUS from 3.1 to 5.2%. The annual incidence and prevalence of progestogen-only implant use increased for all age groups but was most marked in younger women, whereas the use of the LNG-IUS augmented with increasing age. For all women, there was a small decrease in the prevalence of use of Cu-IUDs (from 5.4 to 4.8%) and progestogen-only injections (from 3.6 to 3.2%).
Conclusions: Uptake of progestogen-only implants and the LNG-IUS increased over the period 2004 to 2010 in the UK, but LARC use in young women remains low.
Keywords: Incidence; Long-acting reversible contraceptives; Prevalence; The Health Improvement Network; UK.