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Keywords:

  • long-acting reversible contraception;
  • LARC ;
  • intrauterine contraception;
  • intrauterine device;
  • contraceptive implant;
  • health care delivery;
  • pharmacy practice;
  • pregnancy prevention;
  • contraception;
  • pharmacy education

The U.S. population continues to experience an alarmingly high rate of unintended pregnancies that have an impact on individual families and society alike. Lack of effective contraception accounts for most unintended pregnancies, along with incorrect use of contraceptives. The most common reversible contraceptive method used in the United States is the oral contraceptive pill, which has significant failure and discontinuation rates. Use of long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods has been increasing in recent years after efforts to educate providers and patients. Women are more likely to use LARC methods when barriers such as access and cost are removed. An uptake in the use of LARC methods would allow for markedly reduced contraception failure rates and higher user satisfaction and thus higher continuation rates than those seen with current contraception use. Promoting the use of LARC methods is an important strategy in improving both individual and public health outcomes by reducing unintended pregnancies. The pharmacist's role in family planning is expanding and can contribute to these efforts. Although knowledge regarding LARC has not been studied among pharmacists, a knowledge deficit exists among health care professionals in general. Thus pharmacist education and training should include LARC methods along with other contraceptives. The American College of Clinical Pharmacy Women's Health Practice and Research Network advocates for the pharmacist's role in the use of safe and highly effective LARC methods. These roles include educating patients, informing providers, facilitating access by providing referrals, and modifying institutional procedures to encourage provision of LARC methods.