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Adolesc Med. 1999 Jun;10(2):211-9, v.

An update on contraception for adolescents.

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  • 1Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Almost one million American adolescents become pregnant each year. Awareness of up-to-date contraceptive methods allows clinicians to appropriately counsel male and female adolescents, preferably prior to the onset of sexual activity. Abstinence, barrier methods, including the female condom and non-latex male condom, and hormonal methods, including oral contraceptive pills, injectables, and subdermal implants, are all suitable for adolescent use. New oral contraceptive pills with lower estrogen content or multiphasic hormone levels may ameliorate side effects, such as headache or breakthrough bleeding. Frank discussion of confidentiality and of the various contraceptive methods and their side effects allows adolescents to choose the best method for them, thus improving the likelihood of adherence.

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