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TUESDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Clinicians should assess the appropriateness of contraceptives for women with specific medical conditions or characteristics based on the four categories of medical eligibility defined by the 2010 U.S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use (U.S. MEC), according to a Committee Opinion published in the September issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Members of the Long-Acting Reversible Contraception Working Group, Committee on Gynecologic Practice, from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorse the evidence-based guidelines provided by the 2010 U.S. MEC. They report on the classifications presented in the guidelines.
The committee members report that the U.S. MEC gives guidance to clinicians providing family planning services to women, and classifies contraceptive methods into four categories based on safety of the contraceptive method for women with specific medical conditions or characteristics. Clinicians should consider these categories along with the severity of a woman's medical condition; personal preference; and the effectiveness, acceptability, and availability of alternative methods. For a woman with a given characteristic or medical condition, Category 1 indicates no restrictions on the use; Category 2 indicates use with individualization and careful follow-up; Category 3 indicates that a particular contraceptive is generally not recommended unless other methods are unavailable or unacceptable, and its prescription requires clinical judgment; Category 4 indicates that the method should not be used because of an unacceptable health risk. The U.S. MEC recommendations also have continuation criteria, which should be used when a woman develops a medical condition while already using a contraceptive method.
"These recommendations are meant to be a source of clinical guidance; health care providers should always consider the individual clinical circumstances of each person seeking family planning services," the CDC notes.
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