Contraceptive Pearl: LARC for Teens

Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive (LARC) methods are a great option for people who want a method they don’t have to think about. Because of their length of coverage, lack of effort required from users, and high efficacy, these methods are often the best choice for teens.

Unfortunately, the majority of websites assessed in a 2016 study did not recommend LARC for adolescents, and some sites even discouraged their use. This type of misinformation affects both the type of care clinicians offer and the type of contraception teens seek out, reducing access for this at-risk population.

Copper and progestin IUDs cost less than oral contraceptives and three-month injections over a five-year period. Nulliparous teens can use any type of IUD, and the IUD can be inserted at any point in the menstrual cycle. IUDs do not increase the risk of sexually transmitted infection or ectopic pregnancy. Teens who get a sexually transmitted infection can be treated with the IUD in place.

Clinicians should not restrict LARC methods by age. Teens should have a full range of contraceptive options.


Helpful Resources

IUD Fact Sheet

Progestin Implant Fact Sheet

Medical Eligibility for Initiating Contraception



Harris K, Byrd K, Engel M, et al. Internet-based information on Long-Acting Reversible Contraception for adolescents. Journal of Primary Care and Community Health. 2016 Apr; 7(2): 76-80.

McNicholas C and Peipert JF. Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) for adolescents. Current Opinion in Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2012 Oct; 24(5): 293-298.

Romero L, Pazol K, Warner L, et al. Vital signs: Trends in use of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception among teens aged 15-19 years seeking contraceptive services – United States, 2005-2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2015 Apr; 64(13): 363-369.



The Reproductive Health Access Project does not accept funding from pharmaceutical companies. We do not promote specific brands of medication or contraception. The information in the Contraceptive Pearls is unbiased, based on science alone.