What is Levonorgestrel-Releasing Intrauterine System Used For?

How Does This Contraceptive Work?

Levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system is a small device that is placed into the uterus by a healthcare provider. Once in place, it releases a low level of the progestin hormone levonorgestrel into the uterus. Levonorgestrel is thought to work in several ways to prevent pregnancy, including:
  • Thickening the cervical mucus, which makes it more difficult for sperm to enter the uterus
  • Inhibiting sperm movement
  • Reducing the ability of sperm to survive in the uterus
  • Thinning the lining of the uterus.
It is not entirely clear whether levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system affects ovulation. In clinical studies, 25 percent to 55 percent of women using Mirena did not ovulate. However, in clinical studies on Skyla, all but one woman studied continued to ovulate in the first and second year of use, and all the women studied ovulated in the third year of use.

Can Children Use It?

This medication is approved for use in females who have had their first period. It should not be used in a girl who has not yet started menstruating. Mirena is best for women who have had at least one child. Skyla can be used in women who have not yet had a baby.

Is It Safe for Older Adults to Use Levonorgestrel-Releasing Intrauterine System?

Levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system has not been studied in women older than age 65 and should not be used in such women.

What About Off-Label Uses?

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend this product for something other than contraception or heavy menstruation. This would be known as an "off-label" use. At this time, there are no well-accepted off-label uses for levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system.

More Headlines in What is Levonorgestrel-Releasing Intrauterine System Used For?

↶ An Overview of Levonorgestrel-Releasing Intrauterine System Uses
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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