This LARC now lasts for eight years

2 minute read

The TGA has extended the lifespan of one hormonal intrauterine device by almost half when it comes to pregnancy protection.

The Mirena intrauterine contraceptive is now effective against unwanted pregnancy for eight years, up from five, the TGA has announced.  

The product information has been updated in a move one expert hopes will boost Australia’s lagging uptake of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs).  

Mirenas are also indicated for heavy menstrual bleeding, and the five-year time frame for this indication is unchanged.  

Professor Deborah Bateson from the University of Sydney, former medical director at Family Planning NSW, said the Mirena was now the longest-acting device of its kind, which should increase its appeal on convenience and affordability grounds.  

“Extending the duration for which Mirena can be used for contraception will hopefully accelerate the adoption of LARCs, where Australia lags many other countries,” she said. “The longer a contraceptive works, the more appealing an option it may become for many women.” 

Our low rate of LARC use – 10.8% – was due to practitioners not offering IUDs during contraceptive consultations, she said.  

“GPs, nurse practitioners and pharmacists all have a role to play in facilitating informed contraceptive choice. We know that currently, only seven per cent of contraceptive consultations in general practice involve discussion of LARCs.”  

“It is essential that women of reproductive age are informed of the pros and cons of the full range of contraceptive options; not just the various forms of the pill.” 

Professor Bateson called for more training through medical peak bodies and increased MBS funding for insertion and a new item number for removal procedures.  

The phase 3 Mirena Extension Trial found the device’s contraceptive efficacy stayed above 99% for years six to eight of use. The safety profile was also maintained.   

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