Long-acting reversible contraception in adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Published:December 27, 2016DOI:


      Among adolescent pregnancies, 75% are unintended. Greater use of highly-effective contraception can reduce unintended pregnancy. Although multiple studies discuss adolescent contraceptive use, there is no consensus regarding the use of long-acting reversible contraception as a first-line contraception option.


      We performed a systematic review of the medical literature to assess the continuation of long-acting reversible contraceptives among adolescents.

      Study Design

      Ovid-MEDLINE, Cochrane databases, and Embase databases were searched using key words relevant to the provision of long-acting contraception to adolescents. Articles published from January 2002 through August 2016 were selected for inclusion based on specific key word searches and detailed review of bibliographies. For inclusion, articles must have provided data on method continuation, effectiveness, or satisfaction of at least 1 long-acting reversible contraceptive method in participants <25 years of age. Duration of follow-up had to be ≥6 months. Long-acting reversible contraceptive methods included intrauterine devices and the etonogestrel implant. Only studies in the English language were included. Guidelines, systematic reviews, and clinical reviews were examined for additional citations and relevant points for discussion. Of 1677 articles initially identified, 90 were selected for full review. Of these, 12 articles met criteria for inclusion. All studies selected for full review were extracted by multiple reviewers; inclusion was determined by consensus among authors. For studies with similar outcomes, forest plots of combined effect estimates were created using the random effects model. The meta-analysis of observational studies in epidemiology guidelines were followed. Primary outcomes measured were continuation of method at 12 months, and expulsion rates for intrauterine devices.


      This review included 12 studies, including 6 retrospective cohort studies, 5 prospective observational studies, and 1 randomized controlled trial. The 12 studies included 4886 women age <25 years: 4131 intrauterine device users and 755 implant users. The 12-month continuation of any long-acting reversible contraceptive device was 84.0% (95% confidence interval, 79.0–89.0%). Intrauterine device continuation was 74.0% (95% confidence interval, 61.0–87.0%) and implant continuation was 84% (95% confidence interval, 77.0–91.0%). Among postpartum adolescents, the 12-month long-acting reversible contraceptive continuation rate was 84.0% (95% confidence interval, 71.0–97.0%). The pooled intrauterine device expulsion rate was 8.0% (95% confidence interval, 4.0–11.0%).


      Adolescents and young women have high 12-month continuation of long-acting reversible contraceptive methods. Intrauterine devices and implants should be offered to all adolescents as first-line contraceptive options.

      Key words

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