A New IUD Is Hitting The Market

Illustrated By Ly Ngo.
U.S. women will soon have another option when looking for long-acting reversible birth control (that's LARC for short). Today, the FDA approved the Liletta intrauterine device, a hormonal IUD that's already in use in Europe. Like the hormonal IUDs Mirena and Skyla, Liletta works by releasing small amounts of the hormone levonorgestrel, which thins the uterus lining to prevent egg implantation (and thickens cervical mucus, so that fewer sperm can enter the uterus in the first place). 

A comprehensive study of 1,751 women found Liletta 99.45% effective over three years. Plus, it's safe for women regardless of age, BMI, and whether or not they've already given birth. Continued study will evaluate whether the device can be marketed as usable for up to seven years. Those who like their birth control socially conscious have extra reason to support this new entry on the market: Liletta's developers (pharmaceutical company Actavis plc and women's health nonprofit Medicines360) will make the IUD available to public health clinics at below-market costs, so that women will be able to access Liletta no matter their income or insurance.

Although only about 8.5% of U.S. women on birth control have IUDs, the method is growing in popularity. And, for good reason: An IUD is more effective than the pill, shot, ring, or patch — nearly as effective as sterilization, in fact, but completely reversible. Currently, the only other FDA-approved IUDs are Mirena and Skyla, plus the copper IUD ParaGard (for those who like their BC without a side of hormones). We're hoping that even more options will further popularize this safe, effective form of birth control.
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