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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2002 Dec;187(6):1699-708.

Mechanisms of action of intrauterine devices: update and estimation of postfertilization effects.

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Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Utah Health Research Center, Salt Lake City 84108, USA.


There are many potential mechanisms of action for the intrauterine device (IUD), which vary by type of IUD (inert, copper, or hormonal). This paper reviews the evidence for each potential mechanism of action. On the basis of available data for fertilization rates and clinical pregnancy rates, the relative contribution of mechanisms acting before or after fertilization were quantitatively estimated. These estimates indicate that, although prefertilization effects are more prominent for the copper IUD, both prefertilization and postfertilization mechanisms of action contribute significantly to the effectiveness of all types of intrauterine devices.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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