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Contraception. 1986 Feb;33(2):139-48.

Five years' experience with levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs.


Two levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs and a copper-releasing IUD of the same shape were studied in a randomized comparative study over five years. The levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs released 20 micrograms or 30 micrograms per day. The Pearl index during the 10,600 woman-months of LNG-IUD use was 0.11. The control device releasing copper had a Pearl index of 1.6. The amount and duration of menstrual bleeding was greatly reduced, leading to a high incidence of oligo- or amenorrhea. The continuation rate in this pioneer trial was 53 per 100 users for the levonorgestrel-releasing IUD (LNG-IUDs) and 50 per 100 users for the copper-releasing IUD (Nova T). The removal rates for reasons other than amenorrhea were not significantly different. Discontinuation because of amenorrhea occurred during the first two years, the cumulative termination rate for this reason was 11.6 per 100 users at five years. The LNG-IUDs removed for investigation after five years of use revealed that the devices contained about 40 percent of the original load. The effective lifespan of the device has been demonstrated by this study to be five years; the residual steroid gives an additional safety period of two more years. The LNG-IUD is a highly effective reversible contraceptive method, which strongly reduced the amount and duration of bleeding. During the first two months there is scanty but frequent spotting which, like the high incidence of oligo- and/or amenorrhea, requires counselling of health personnel and women using LNG-IUDs.

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