Ectopic pregnancies associated with low dose progestagen-releasing IUDs

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      Dimethyl-polysiloxane capsules containing pure progestagens were attached to Tatum's T IUDs and tested in 594 fertile women for contraceptive performance. The control group was represented by 71 women who received identical devices containing barium sulphate instead of steroid and 100 women who received a Copper T-200. The progestagens and the doses tested were megestrol acetate (4.8, 19.2, 26 and 32 ug/day); levonorgestrel (2.1, 3.4 and 8.5 ug/day); norethindrone (18 ug/day); R2323 (28.6 and 45 ug/day); and norgestrienone (26 ug/day). Twelve pregnancies were diagnosed during 5201 woman-months of exposure accumulated within the first year of use among users of the steroid-bearing IUDs. Five of these were ectopic gestations. Ten pregnancies, all uterine, were detected during 1701 woman-months of exposure in the control group.
      Intrauterine delivery of progestagens by means of a carrier IUD is effective in decreasing the pregnancy rate but it might affect postovulatory events in a way which increases the rate of tubal implantation. Because of this property, progestagen-releasing IUDs should be limited to doses that assure maximal effectiveness to avoid increasing the risk of ectopic pregnancy.
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