Long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARCs) methods

Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2020 Jul;66:28-40. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2019.12.002. Epub 2019 Dec 20.


Unplanned pregnancy (UP) is a public health problem, which affects millions of women worldwide. Providing long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods is an excellent strategy to avoid or at least reduce UP, because the effectiveness of these methods is higher than other methods, and is indeed comparable to that of permanent contraception. As the initial introduction of the inert plastic intrauterine device (IUD) and of the six-rod implant, pharmaceutical companies have introduced a copper IUD (Cu-IUD), different models of levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG IUS), and one and two-rod implants, which certainly improved women's LARC options. The main characteristic of LARCs is that they provide high contraceptive effectiveness with a single intervention, and that they can be used for a long time. Emerging evidence from the last few years has demonstrated that it is possible to extend the use of the 52 mg LNG IUS and of the etonogestrel-implant beyond five- and three years, respectively, which adds new value to these LARCs.

Keywords: Contraception; Copper intrauterine device; LARCs; Levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system; Long acting contraceptives; Subdermal implants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Contraception
  • Contraceptive Agents
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female* / therapeutic use
  • Contraceptive Devices
  • Drug Implants*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intrauterine Devices, Copper*
  • Intrauterine Devices, Medicated*
  • Levonorgestrel / administration & dosage
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unplanned


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