Contraceptive Pearls

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Contraceptive Pearl: Progestin Implant Update

In 2006 the FDA approved the progestin implant. At the time, the device was approved for 3-year duration. Studies since then provide evidence that the progestin implant is effective for up to 5 years, although the labeling remains at 3 years. The progestin implant is a soft, flexible polymer about the size of a match…

Contraceptive Pearl: Reproductive Health Care for People with Physical Disabilities

Many people with mobility and physical disabilities lack basic reproductive health care. People with disabilities are less likely to receive cervical cancer screenings, prenatal care, and family planning services than those without disabilities. Estimates of contraceptive use vary across studies, but some studies indicate that those with disabilities use a narrower set of contraceptive methods…

Contraceptive Pearl: Oral Contraceptive Pills and Endometriosis

For decades, birth control pills have been used to treat the symptoms of endometriosis. Does evidence support this? The Cochrane Collaborative updated its review of this topic in May, 2018. Reviewers found 5 clinical trials that examined the use of oral contraceptives to control endometriosis pain. Of these 5 trials, three met criteria for analysis. Two…

Contraceptive Pearl: E-Cigarettes and Contraceptives

Cigarette smokers who use estrogen-containing contraceptives have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Are electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) a better choice? E-cigarettes deliver nicotine. Nicotine’s deleterious effects on the cardiovascular system are well established, but its toxicity is lower when not combined with smoke. There have been no published studies of electronic cigarette use among people…

Contraceptive Pearl: Opiate Use and Contraceptives

Opiate Use and Contraceptives Because there are no known interactions between opiates and contraceptive hormones, patients who take opiates are eligible for all birth control methods. Cornford, et al. collected data from 374 patients who were receiving treatment for opioid addictions. Overall contraceptive use was low (at 30%). These patients had high levels of ectopic…

Contraceptive Pearl: Misoprostol and IUD Insertion

Misoprostol and IUD Insertion Misoprostol, a synthetic prostaglandin, causes cervical dilation and has multiple uses in obstetrics and abortion. Can misoprostol help with IUD insertion, as well? Research has shown that misoprostol self-administered before IUD insertion in nulliparous women did not ease IUD insertion or reduce patient-perceived pain. In fact, several studies found that patients who…

Contraceptive Pearl: Language in the Exam Room

The language we use in the exam room should convey our respect for patients. Before discussing sensitive topics with patients, clinicians should take care to establish rapport. Supportive, non-judgmental, and caring words can allow patients to feel heard and understood. Inclusive phrasing makes no assumptions about sexual orientation or gender identity. Attention to language is…

Contraceptive Pearl: Internal Condom Accessibility

In June 2017, the internal condom’s manufacturer changed it from over-the-counter in pharmacies to prescription and online-only.  There are now four ways patients can get the internal condom: 1. Prescription from a clinician; 2. Prescription from an online clinician; 3. Bulk order through the manufacturer’s website; 4. Community organizations that provide the condom. Patients can purchase…

Contraceptive Pearl: Switching Contraceptive Methods

Patients often switch from one contraceptive method to another. For example, a patient who has trouble remembering to take a pill daily may change from an oral contraceptive to an implant. To minimize the risk of an unintended pregnancy, patients should avoid gaps between methods. That is, patients should go straight from one method to…

Contraceptive Pearl: Follow-up After IUD Insertion

 Many clinicians schedule a follow-up visit after an IUD insertion. Is this necessary?  The CDC does not suggest that patients return for a routine follow-up after IUD insertion. Instead, patients should be encouraged to contact their clinician at any time if they have questions or concern about their IUD.  The CDC recommends that at other…

Contraceptive Pearls

This monthly clinical e-newsletter highlights evidence-based best practices for contraceptive care

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