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Aust Fam Physician. 1998 May;27(5):347-52.

Recent advances in contraception.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Monash University.



Advice regarding contraception, the means of fertility regulation for millions of women, is part of a general practitioner's bread and butter work. The area is however, developing at a rapid pace with the refinement of hormonal methods and the development of new and easier modes of delivery.


This article will review the results of recent studies in the area of reproductive health that better clarify the critical issues in the prescription and use of contraceptives. It will also describe contraceptive products that will soon be available in Australia.


General practitioners need to convey the results of this research to patients so that they may make informed contraceptive choices based on evidence. Patients should also be made aware of all of their contraceptive options as well as the availability of emergency contraceptives.


To counsel patients about their contraceptive options, general practitioners must be knowledgeable about recent refinements of hormonal methods and the development of new and easier modes of hormone delivery. This article, intended for family physicians in Australia, reviews the results of recent studies in the area of contraceptive selection and use. Particular emphasis is given to the debate over third-generation oral contraceptives (OCs), the association between OC use and the risk of breast cancer, developments in progestogen-only contraception, emergency contraception, and use of RU-486 for medical abortion. The levonorgestrel-releasing IUD (Mirena) will soon be available in Australia and represents a good option for women who desire both contraception and control of menorrhagia.

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