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ObGyns, and US women, are embracing LARCs

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According to the CDC, use of long-acting reversible contraception has increased 5-fold since 2002. Who is using it most often and when?



Use of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) has increased nearly 5-fold in the last decade, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Data Brief on the trends in LARC use among US women aged 15 to 44.1

Data from the National Survey of Family Growth indicate that LARCs, which include intrauterine devices (IUDs) and subdermal hormonal implants, are gaining popularity because of their high efficacy in preventing unintended pregnancies. LARCs have demonstrated greater efficacy in preventing unintended pregnancy among all women compared with other contraceptive methods, including the oral contraceptive pill and the transdermal patch.

Age-related trends
For women aged 15 to 44, LARC use doubled between 2002 (1.5%) and the period 2006–2010 (3.8%) and then nearly doubled again for 2011–2013 (7.2%). IUD use increased 83% from the 2006–2010 period (3.5%) to the 2011–2013 period (6.4%). Implant use tripled from 2002 (0.3%) to the 2011–2013 period (0.8%).

LARC use was higher among women aged 25 to 34 than among women aged 15 to 24. The difference in LARC use was not statistically significant between women aged 25 to 34 and women aged 35 to 44.

  • LARC use increased nearly 4-fold for women aged 15 to 24 between 2002 (0.6%) and 2006–2010 (2.3%), and doubled again for 2011–2013 (5.0%).
  • LARC use almost doubled among women aged 25 to 34 from 2006–2010 to 2011–2013 (5.3% to 11.1%).
  • LARC use tripled between 2002 (1.1%) and 2006–2010 (3.8%) for women aged 35 to 44, and increased to 5.3% in 2011–2013.

Patterns of use by race
Although LARC use tripled for non-Hispanic white women and increased 4-fold for non-Hispanic black women between 2002 and 2006–2010, use among Hispanic women declined 10% during this period. LARC use increased by 129% among Hispanic women and by 128% among non-Hispanic white women from 2006–2010 to 2011–2013. Use of LARCs in non-Hispanic black women increased by 30% during this same period.

Parous vs nulliparous women
Women who have had at least one birth use LARC at a higher rate than women who have had no previous births. During the period 2011–2013, rate of use was 3 times greater among parous (11.0%) women compared with nulliparous (2.8%) women.

  • Among parous women, LARC use increased from 2.4% in 2002 to 6.3% in 2006–2010, and to 10.6% in 2011–2013.
  • In nulliparous women, LARC use increased 10-fold between 2006–2010 and 2011–2013.

For additional information, visit the NCHS Data Brief at

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