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New findings present opportunity for hormonal IUD as an emergency contraceptive option

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

Written by Katie Williams, UNC/FHI 360 Fellow

A recent study conducted by a team from the University of Utah Health and Planned Parenthood Association of Utah with funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Health contributes exciting insights on the hormonal IUD as an option for emergency contraception. While more users in the United States prefer hormonal IUD compared to the copper IUD for long term contraception, providers currently only promote the copper IUD for emergency contraception as there was little to no research on efficacy of the hormonal IUD as an

In this study, the hormonal IUD (left) was comparable to the copper IUD (right) for use as an emergency contraceptive. Photo credit: Getty Images

emergency contraceptive method. This randomized noninferiority trial, conducted over three years with more than 700 participants ages 18-35, sought to compare the emergency contraceptive efficacy between the two methods. The results demonstrated that the hormonal IUD was a comparable, noninferior method to the copper IUD for emergency contraception. Further, the results determined the hormonal IUD to be a better alternative to the morning after pill.

The full study can be found here.

Citation: Turok DK, Gero A, Simmons RG, Kaiser JE, Stoddard GJ, Sexsmith CD, Gawron LM, Sanders JN. Levonorgestrel vs. Copper Intrauterine Devices for Emergency Contraception. N Engl J Med. 2021 Jan 28;384(4):335-344. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2022141. PMID: 33503342.

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