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Original Article |

Correlates and Consequences of Early Removal of Levonorgestrel Implants Among Teenaged Mothers

Catherine Stevens-Simon, MD; Lisa Kelly, PA
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1998;152(9):893-898. doi:.
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Objective  To determine if adolescent mothers who request early removal of levonorgestrel implants differ from those who do not in ways that might predispose them to repeated conceptions and in their concerns about adverse effects. We hypothesized that adolescent mothers who request removal of levonorgestrel implants within 2 years of insertion have more risk factors for repeated pregnancy than those who do not.

Methods  We studied the prevalence of 21 characteristics associated with repeated adolescent pregnancy and 16 adverse effects of levonorgestrel implants in 181 postpartum, adolescent levonorgestrel implant recipients, 66 (36%) of whom had the levonorgestrel implants removed within 20 months of insertion (hereafter, removers).

Results  Removers (n = 66) had significantly more risk factors for repeated pregnancy and reported significantly more adverse effects than did those who continued to use levonorgestrel implants (hereafter, users) (n = 115). Concerns about adverse effects rose in tandem with risk factors for repeated pregnancy (r= 0.26; P = .001) and were the most important determinant of levonorgestrel implant removal (relative risk, 9.72; 95% confidence interval, 4.62-19.49). However, the number of risk factors for repeated pregnancy was also a significant, independent predictor of levonorgestrel implant removal (relative risk, 2.34; 95% confidence interval, 1.10-4.66). Following removal, contraceptive use was poor and conception occurred rapidly; 24 (37%) of the removers conceived again within 2 years of the index delivery.

Conclusions  The study hypothesis was supported. Our findings that concerns about the adverse effects of levonorgestrel implants rise in tandem with risk factors for repeated pregnancy suggest that the efficacy of counseling before and after levonorgestrel implant insertion could be improved by addressing those aspects of the user's life that undermine the motivation to use contraception.

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