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Copper IUCDs more effective than depot progesterone

By Lilian Anekwe

Copper-containing intra-uterine devices (IUDs) are a better option than depot progesterone injections, according to a gold-standard literature review by researchers at the Cochrane Collaboration.

The group from South Africa included two randomised controlled trials involving 967 in their review comparing IUD use with depot progesterone contraception.

Both trials were conducted in developing countries: one in Zambia and the other in Brazil, Guatemala, Vietnams and Egypt. In each study, women were randomly assigned to have an IUD inserted or to receive hormonal contraceptives. Hormonal contraceptives were given only by injection in the second study, but women were allowed to switch between pills and injections in the first.

Overall, the copper IUD was more effective than the depot injection at preventing pregnancy, and women fitted with IUDs were 55% less likely to become pregnant than women given an depot injection.

Study leader Professor Justus Hofmeyr, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the East London Hospital Complex, Eastern Cape, South Africa concluded: ‘This information will be useful for counselling women regarding their choice of contraception.'

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 6. Art. No.: CD007043

IUCDs more effective than depot progesterone


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