Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) includes three intrauterine devices, Mirena, Skyla and Liletta, that protect against pregnancy by releasing small amounts of progesterone that effect changes locally in the uterus and cervix. Mirena is also FDA approved to treat heavy, painful periods in many women. The Paragard IUD is made of copper. Its contraceptive activity is attributed to spermicidal effects. Nexplanon is a small, flexible implant that is placed under the skin of the upper, inner, non-dominant arm after infiltration of a small amount of local anesthetic. Each of the LARCs can be placed during a brief office visit. All provide extremely effective birth control that is not dependent on patient actions after insertion. All can be removed by simple office procedures when contraception is no longer desired.
Protection from sexually transmitted diseases is NOT provided by IUD’s or implants, so it’s extremely important to continue to follow safe sex practices if you are using a long-acting contraceptive.