IUDs Safe and Effective in High-Risk Patients
Monday, Aug. 6, 2007
Video Clip 1: "Higher risk patients did very well with this method of contraception."
Audio Clip 1: .MP3 format
Video Clip 2: "These results may dramatically affect clinical practice."
Audio Clip 2: .MP3 format
Commonwealth University researchers have found that intrauterine devices are
safe and effective in a population of women
previously not considered as good candidates for this method of birth control.
The findings may help
physicians develop improved guidelines for providing intrauterine devices (IUDs) to patients.
The IUD is the most common form of
reversible birth control used by women worldwide. While IUDs offer a high level
of long-term contraceptive efficacy, they have been associated with health
risks, including pelvic inflammatory disease and upper genital tract infections.
Women who are at high risk for both sexually transmitted
infections and pregnancy have been classified as poor candidates for this
method of contraception.
In a study published in the August issue
of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers
concluded that IUDs were acceptable and not associated with a significant
increase in occurrence of gynecologic infections in women who are at high risk
for both sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.
"We once thought that IUDs could only be used in married,
monogamous women because of a perceived increase in the risk of pelvic
infections," said lead investigator, Catherine A. Matthews, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and
Gynecology at VCU.
our study, we now know that IUDs are safe to use in all women who don't have an
acute infection of the cervix. Therefore, young, unmarried, sexually active
women can now be considered good candidates for this contraceptive option,
which doesn't require taking a pill, patch, or injection," she
The team conducted
a medical chart review of approximately 200 women who had IUDs inserted between
2000 and 2005. Researchers compared the efficacy and complication rates of the
Paragard IUD and Mirena intrauterine system (IUS). Both are T-shaped devices
placed in the uterus to prevent pregnancy, however, the Mirena IUS releases a
to Matthews, a third of women who received an IUD had a history of STD prior to
insertion. Additionally, 32 percent of women had a history of other
gynecological infections such as bacterial vaginosis, and almost half were
unmarried. Matthews said that the Mirena IUS had lower rates of complications
and greater acceptability than the Paragard IUD.
collaborated with VCU colleagues Samuel J. Campbell, M.D., with the Department
of Obstetrics and Gynecology; and Karen L. Cropsey, PsyD., with the L. Douglas
Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.
About VCU and VCU Medical Center
Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.