Call to encourage LARC use ahead of the Pill

GPs should encourage women to use long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) instead of the ‘outdated’ contraceptive Pill, a leading sexual health expert has advised.

James Trusell, professor of public affairs at the University of Princeton and visiting professor at Hull York Medical School, warned that one in 12 women who take the Pill will suffer an unwanted pregnancy.

‘The Pill is an outdated contraceptive method that is very difficult for women to take every day,’ she told the British Pregnancy Advisory Service’s Future of Abortion conference in central London earlier this week

‘8 per cent of women will experience an unintended pregnancy within the first year of using the Pill.’

Professor Trusell also criticised the use of emergency contraception saying that it has no impact on the rates of unintended pregnancies, as long as unprotected intercourse remained as prevalent as it currently is.

‘LARCs are a much more effective way of reducing pregnancies. Once they are in, you can forget about them and they will provide long-term protection.

‘But it is difficult to get GPs to talk to women about the use of LARCs. Most GPs have not been trained to put in LARCs so women have to go visit specialist clinics instead.’

Earlier in the day at the conference health minister Dawn Primarolo, announced that the DoH was planning to pilot a project linking abortion services to LARC fitting services.

‘This would be a great way to reduce the rates of unintended pregnancies,’ added Professor Trusell.
NICE guidance on the use of LARCs, issued in 2005, states that switching just 7 per cent of women from the pill to LARCs could save the NHS £100 million by reducing 73,000 unwanted pregnancies each year.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

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