Long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) devices are birth control methods that provide effective contraception for an extended period of time. You do not have to think about contraception on a daily basis or every time you have sex, as with the oral contraceptive pill or condoms. Long-acting reversible contraception is highly effective in preventing unintended pregnancies, and can be stopped if you decide you want to get pregnant.
Long-acting reversible contraceptives include the following:
- Implants - these are inserted under the skin and last for up to 3 years.
- Intrauterine devices - these are inserted into the womb and last for 5-10 years before they need replacing.
- Contraceptive injections - these work for up to 12 weeks before being repeated.
Currently all LARC methods are for women, as there are no long-acting reversible contraceptive methods designed for men yet.
Make sure you have sufficient information from your doctor or nurse before you decide which long-acting reversible contraceptive is right for you. You'll need to check with your doctor or nurse as particular contraceptive methods may not be suitable for you. Your doctor will enquire about your general health, medical problems, periods and previously used contraceptives. Before starting any method you will need to check that you are not pregnent.
LARCs do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Condoms can help protect against these infections and your doctor or nurse can provide more information on this.
If you are interested in long-acting reversible contraception then please book a routine appointment with one of our GPs to discuss this.