Control of endometriosis-associated pain with etonogestrel-releasing contraceptive implant and 52-mg levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system: randomized clinical trial

Fertil Steril. 2018 Nov;110(6):1129-1136. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2018.07.003.


Objective: To assess the efficacy of an etonogestrel (ENG)-releasing contraceptive implant or the 52-mg levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS) in the control of endometriosis-associated pelvic pain.

Design: Noninferiority randomized clinical trial in which women with endometriosis were assigned to use an ENG implant (experimental treatment) or an LNG-IUS (active comparator). Monthly follow-up visits were conducted up to 6 months.

Setting: University teaching hospital.

Patient(s): One hundred three women, with endometriosis-associated chronic pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea, or both for more than 6 months. In cases of deep endometriosis, vaginal ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging were used as additional diagnostic tools.

Intervention(s): The ENG implant or the LNG-IUS were inserted within the first 5 days of the menstrual cycle.

Main outcome measure(s): Daily scores of noncyclic pelvic pain and dysmenorrhea were evaluated using a daily visual analogue scale. Health-related quality of life was evaluated using the Endometriosis Health Profile-30 questionnaire at baseline and up to 6 months. Bleeding patterns were assessed daily from a menstrual calendar.

Result(s): Both contraceptives improved significantly the mean visual analogue scale endometriosis-associated pelvic pain and dysmenorrhea, without significant differences between treatment group profiles. Health-related quality of life improved significantly in all domains of the core and modular segments of the Endometriosis Health Profile-30 questionnaire, with no difference between both treatment groups. The most common bleeding patterns at 180 days of follow-up were amenorrhea and infrequent bleeding and infrequent bleeding and spotting among ENG implant and LNG-IUS users, respectively.

Conclusion(s): In this noninferiority study both contraceptives improved significantly pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea, and health-related quality of life in endometriosis.

Clinical trial registration number: under number NCT02480647.

Keywords: Endometriosis; etonogestrel-releasing contraceptive implant; levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system; pelvic pain.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / administration & dosage*
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / metabolism
  • Desogestrel / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Implants / administration & dosage
  • Drug Implants / metabolism
  • Drug Liberation / physiology
  • Endometriosis / diagnosis
  • Endometriosis / drug therapy*
  • Endometriosis / metabolism
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intrauterine Devices, Medicated*
  • Levonorgestrel / administration & dosage*
  • Levonorgestrel / metabolism
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pelvic Pain / diagnosis
  • Pelvic Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pelvic Pain / metabolism


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female
  • Drug Implants
  • etonogestrel
  • Levonorgestrel
  • Desogestrel

Associated data