New resource to aid contraceptive prescribing in UK

A new resource to help UK clinicians determine both men and women’s eligibility for the different forms of contraception has been produced by the Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care’s (FFPRHC) Clinical Effectiveness Unit and distributed to all general practices and relevant specialist services throughout the UK.

The UK Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use (UKMEC, 2005/2006) manual has been developed and adapted from the World Health Organization Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use (WHOMEC, 2004) and is designed to help all clinicians facilitate safe contraceptive prescribing throughout the UK.

The evidence based resource categorises the safety of use of each method of contraception in women with coexistent medical conditions to aid clinicians to advise women on safe contraceptive use. This should enable clients and clinicians to choose contraceptive methods in a safe manner, without unnecessary medical restrictions. 

It covers the full range of contraceptive methods currently available in the UK, including: combined oral contraceptives - progestogen only methods (pills, injectables, implants) - intrauterine devices (IUD) and hormone systems (IUS) - emergency contraception - barrier methods and fertility awareness methods, including lactational amenorrhoea.      

Dr Chris Wilkinson, a Vice President of the FFPRHC says, ‘Having a UK adaptation of the Medical Eligibility Criteria will, for the first time, make the WHO guidance clearly relevant to UK practice, and facilitate improved contraceptive care for women making contraceptive choices’.

Laminated summary sheets within the resource provide quick reference for common reversible methods specifically for use within the busy clinical environment, which clinicians can copy for use within their own clinic setting.

Copies of UK Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use (2005/2006) can be downloaded for free from the Faculty website at


For further information please contact Anna Gardner on 0207 815 3900 or email

Notes to editors:

  • The UK Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use (2005/2006) was developed by the Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care’s Clinical Effectiveness Unit, using an evidence based consensus process with a multidisciplinary group. This included specialist doctors and nurses working in the field of sexual and reproductive health, general practice and user representation. The development was funded by a grant from the Department of Health (England). The distribution of this document has been funded by the Department of Health, the Scottish Executive and the Faculty.

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