A new kind of hormonal contraceptive device is now out on the market. The US Food and Drug Administration approved pharmaceutical company Bayer AG’s device, called Kyleena that the German company says can prevent pregnancy for up to five years.
According to a report by Reuters, the new device is a small, flexible, plastic intrauterine device (IUD) in a T-shape. It slowly releases the hormone levonorgestrel that keeps the uterine lining from thickening, which in turn inhibits pregnancy. The device is placed by a professional health care provider during a clinic visit and may be removed at any time.
Kyleena is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC), a group of contraceptives that has seen a resurgence in popularity. Statistics show there has been a fivefold increase in the use of LARCs in the last decade.
LARCs, which include IUDs and implants, have been proven more efficient compared to other methods such as pills and patches. They are even as effective as sterilization, says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Anita L. Nelson, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California, said in a statement on Bayer’s website, “Data show that the use of effective, long-acting birth control methods including intrauterine devices – or IUDs – have helped to reduce unintended pregnancies in the United States but we still have a long way to go.” She added,
Kyleena is highly effective at preventing pregnancy and may be an appropriate choice for women who want a low-dose, non-daily birth control method.
Women using Kyleena will notice fewer days of bleeding and spotting, while menstruations may stop for others. When the device is removed, normal periods will return.
Hormonal IUDs are slightly more effective than more common copper IUDs like the Paragard from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. Paragard and similar devices last longer, but don’t help control blood flow.
In February 2015, the FDA also gave Actavis Plc (now Allergan Plc) approval for its hormonal IUD Liletta. Liletta halts pregnancy for up to three years.
Bayer already has other hormonal IUDs, such as Mirena and Skyla. Kyleena will be available in October.