Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARCs)

with Katie Wilde, WHNP

I’m Katie Wilde, a nurse practitioner here at Academy Women’s Healthcare, and I want to share some helpful information about Long Acting Reversible Contraception, or LARCs.

There are two different categories of LARCs. One is the Nexplanon, which is an insertable device and the other is the IUD, or the intrauterine contraception.


The Nexplanon is a little rod that we would insert into the upper area of a women’s arm. It is just about the size of a matchstick.

Nexplanon Long Acting Reversible Contraception

We insert it under sterile conditions into your upper arm, and it’s a very simple, quick procedure.

It is good for three years and has only a progesterone that it releases daily.

It is one of the most effective forms of contraception out there. It is over 99% effective.

In fact, in the studies that they have done, only five women out of 10,000 women have gotten pregnant with this in the first year. So it is one of the most effective forms of contraception.

And the fact that it’s good for three years is just a really huge benefit that you don’t have to think about it every day.

Nexplanon Return To Fertility

The return to fertility after getting the Nexplanon removed is about three to six weeks.

If you would like to try to conceive after that then it doesn’t take very long to return to fertility.

Intrauterine Contraception (IUD’s)

The other forms of long acting reversible contraception would be the IUDs.

There are a number of those and they range anywhere from a three year effectiveness all the way to a ten year effectiveness.


The three year IUD is called Skyla.

skyla long acting reversible contraception

And this also contains a progesterone. It has a very small amount of progesterone in it that it releases every day.

It is the least effective form of IUDs. However, it is still over 99% effective.

Again, this one is good for three years and is a really good form of contraception for a woman who’s never had a baby because it is a lot smaller than the other IUDs and it’s easier for a woman to tolerate who’s never had a baby.

Mirena or Liletta

The next IUD is the Mirena or Liletta.

mirena long acting reversible contraception

So there’s two different manufacturers out there. One manufactures Mirena and the other one manufactures Liletta. They are the same exact IUD however, same amount of hormone in them. Again only a progesterone.

The Liletta at this point is good for four years and the Mirena is good for five years.

But the Liletta will likely be approved for five years within a year and then they’re hoping to get it approved for seven years at some point.

Again this has progesterone only, a little bit more progesterone than the Skyla does.

So again it’s good for five years, and a lot of women who use the Mirena or the Liletta will actually just stop having periods with that one.

So that’s one of the really great benefits of this one.


Then the last IUD is called the Paragard. This one is good for 10 years and it does not actually contain any hormone at all.

paragard long acting reversible contraception

It has these copper filaments on the body and the arms and the copper is what causes contraception.

It is a very, very strong spermicide.

So this one does not have any hormonal side effects like the other ones could potentially have.

And it is good for 10 years. So it’s a really nice, long acting reversible contraception.

Are IUD’s Reversible?

All of these are reversible, can be removed at any time.

They are not permanent and the return to fertility is pretty much immediate with the IUDs, and three to six weeks with the Nexplanon.

Long Acting Reversible Contraception Procedure

Any of these can be done in our office, and are very quick, easy procedures.

There are of course risks, benefits, side effects that you can discuss with your provider when you come in.

You can come in for a contraceptive counseling session, or if you know this is what you want, just let us know, make an appointment and we’re happy to have you come in and have one of these inserted.

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact us to set up an appointment.