A recent clinical trial
compared the use of copper versus levonorgestrel (LNG) intrauterine devices (IUDs) for emergency contraception after unprotected sex or failure of other birth control methods.
Emergency contraception is a type of birth control that can be used after unprotected sex, the failure of regular birth control methods, or in cases of sexual assault. Two common types of reversible emergency contraception are the copper intrauterine device (IUD) and the levonorgestrel (LNG) IUD.
The IUD is a small device that is shaped in the form of a “T”. Your doctor places it inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy, and it can stay in your uterus for up to 10 years. In case of emergency, women can have the IUD inserted within 5 days of unprotected intercourse.
In the United States, more IUD users select levonorgestrel IUDs than copper IUDs for long-term contraception. However, clinicians currently offer only copper IUDs for emergency contraception because of the lack of clinical data on the safety and effectiveness of LNG IUDs.
A recent clinical study
published in the New England Journal of Medicine compared these two types of emergency contraception devices. The clinical trial involved 638 women between the ages of 18 and 35 who were seeking emergency contraception within five days of unprotected sex. Out of these women, 317 received LNG IUDs while 321 received copper IUDs.
The results of the clinical trial showed that only 1 out of 317 patients who received LNG IUD became pregnant, while no pregnancies were reported in the copper IUD group. There was only a 0.3% difference between the two devices, indicating that both IUDs are equally effective. In addition, patients in both groups reported similar rates of side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and breast tenderness.
Overall, the clinical trial suggests that both copper and LNG IUDs are equally effective and safe for emergency contraception. It is important to discuss your options with a healthcare provider to determine which type of emergency contraception is right for you.
In conclusion, the clinical study
found that both intrauterine devices had similar results in preventing unintended pregnancies, and there was no significant difference in the safety profiles either. Hence, it can be safely deduced that LNG IUDs are non-inferior to copper IUDs and can be used as emergency contraceptives. However, it is pertinent to mention that women should consult their healthcare provider to determine the best method of emergency contraception for them.
National Library of Medicine