Safety of hormonal contraception and intrauterine devices among women with depressive and bipolar disorders: a systematic review



      Women with depressive or bipolar disorders are at an increased risk for unintended pregnancy.


      To examine the safety of hormonal contraception among women with depressive and bipolar disorders.


      We searched for articles published through January 2016 on the safety of using any hormonal contraceptive method among women with depressive or bipolar disorders, including those who had been diagnosed clinically or scored above threshold levels on a validated screening instrument. Outcomes included changes in symptoms, hospitalization, suicide and modifications in medication regimens such as increase or decrease in dosage or changes in type of drug.


      Of 2376 articles, 6 met the inclusion criteria. Of three studies that examined women clinically diagnosed with depressive or bipolar disorder, one found that oral contraceptives (OCs) did not significantly change mood across the menstrual cycle among women with bipolar disorder, whereas mood did significantly change across the menstrual cycle among women not using OCs; one found no significant differences in the frequency of psychiatric hospitalizations among women with bipolar disorder who used depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), intrauterine devices (IUDs) or sterilization; and one found no increase in depression scale scores among women with depression using and not using OCs, for both those treated with fluoxetine and those receiving placebo. Of three studies that examined women who met a threshold for depression on a screening instrument, one found that adolescent girls using combined OCs (COCs) had significantly improved depression scores after 3 months compared with placebo, one found that OC users had similar odds of no longer being depressed at follow-up compared with nonusers, and one found that COC users were less frequently classified as depressed over 11 months than IUD users.


      Limited evidence from six studies found that OC, levonorgestrel-releasing IUD and DMPA use among women with depressive or bipolar disorders was not associated with worse clinical course of disease compared with no hormonal method use.


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