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This is an updated version of the article that appeared in print.

Am Fam Physician. 2022;106(3):251-259

Related editorial: Contraception Recommendations: Updates for the Busy Clinician

Related letter to the editor: Physicians Need Education About Fertility Awareness–Based Methods

Published online May 27, 2022.

This clinical content conforms to AAFP criteria for CME.

Author disclosure: No relevant financial relationships.

Primary care clinicians are uniquely situated to reduce unintended pregnancy in the context of a patient's medical comorbidities, social circumstance, and gender identity. New evidence regarding contraception use has emerged in recent years. The copper intrauterine device is the most effective option for emergency contraception, with similar effectiveness found for the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system, 52 mg, and both offer extended future contraception. Ulipristal given within 120 hours after unprotected intercourse is the most effective oral emergency contraceptive. Oral levonorgestrel, 1.5 mg, is slightly less effective than ulipristal, and is less effective in patients with a body mass index of more than 30 kg per m2 and if administered after 72 hours. The Yuzpe method, which uses a combination of oral contraceptives, is less effective than ulipristal or oral levonorgestrel, 1.5 mg, and has high risk of nausea and vomiting. Contraception methods based on fertility awareness are safe and have similar effectiveness as condom use and the withdrawal method. Patients who have migraine with aura have a higher risk of ischemic stroke, and combined oral contraceptives appear to increase this risk. Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends avoiding their use in these patients. Studies support the extended use of the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system, 52 mg, for eight years, the copper intrauterine device for 12 years, and the etonogestrel subdermal contraceptive implant for five years. One levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device, 52 mg, (Mirena) was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for eight years of use to prevent pregnancy. However, the intervals for the copper intrauterine device and the etonogestrel subdermal contraceptive implant are longer than approved by the FDA, and patient-clinician shared decision-making should be used. Subcutaneous depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, 104 mg, a newer formulation with prefilled syringes, can be safely self-administered every 13 weeks. Because bone density loss appears to be reversible, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends considering use of depot medroxyprogesterone acetate beyond two years despite an FDA boxed warning about increased fracture risk. Testosterone does not prevent pregnancy but is safe to use with hormonal contraception; thus, transgender and gender-diverse patients with a uterus can be offered the full range of contraceptive options.

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