IUDs Highly Effective As Emergency Contraception

Systematic review of 42 studies shows efficacy of intrauterine devices for emergency contraception

WEDNESDAY, May 9 (HealthDay News) -- Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are a highly effective form of emergency contraception, according to research published online May 8 in Human Reproduction.

Kelly Cleland, M.P.H., M.P.A., of Princeton University in New Jersey, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the literature to evaluate the efficacy of IUDs for emergency contraception. A total of 42 studies conducted in six countries between 1979 and 2011 were evaluated, and eight different types of IUDs in 7,034 women were reviewed.

The researchers found that the majority (74 percent) of IUD insertions occurred within five days of intercourse, and the maximum timeframe from intercourse to insertion ranged from two to more than 10 days. Excluding one outlier study, the overall pregnancy rate was 0.09 percent.

"IUDs are a highly effective method of contraception after unprotected intercourse," the authors write. "Because they are safe for the majority of women, highly effective and cost-effective when left in place as ongoing contraception, whenever clinically feasible, IUDs should be included in the range of emergency contraception options offered to patients presented after unprotected intercourse."

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