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January 3, 1986

Reversible Contraception for the 1980s

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Reproductive Health, Center for Health Promotion and Education, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta.

JAMA. 1986;255(1):69-75. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370010075028

EACH DAY, tens of millions of Americans swallow a pill, slide in a diaphragm, or slip on a condom to prevent unwanted pregnancies. These strategies are working, although not as well as they could. While rates of unwanted pregnancies have declined dramatically in recent years,1 nonuse or inconsistent use of contraception, especially among sexually active teenagers,2 persists. In general, fear of complications, not the complications themselves, is the most powerful deterrent to contraception.3 Much of this fear is unwarranted, fueled in part by inaccurate or incomplete media coverage.4 Although no new contraceptive chemical has been introduced in the United States since 1968,5 the safety and acceptability of existing contraceptive methods have improved greatly. In this review, I will provide a brief clinical update on reversible contraception, including current use of contraception, the efficacy of various methods, the safety of these methods, and a brief overview