The fun stuff
NSW Government

Long-acting reversible contraception or LARC, are contraceptive methods that last a long time, but aren’t permanent. This means you can stop the contraceptive method and plan for a baby if and when you’re ready to fall pregnant.

LARC are “set and forget” methods that don’t depend on you remembering to do something every day or every time you have sex. This makes them the MOST effective form of contraception to prevent pregnancy.

At last… an easy and simple way to stop pregnancy!

The LARC methods are the contraceptive implant, the injection, the hormone-releasing IUD, and the copper IUD.

The contraceptive implant is often known as ‘the rod’ or ‘the implant’. Implanon NXT® is the brand name of the implant that is available in Australia. The implant is a small, flexible rod that’s inserted under the skin in the upper arm. It slowly releases a high dose of hormone called progestogen and lasts for three years.

How does it work? The implant stops pregnancy by making a mucus plug at the cervix to stop sperm from getting into the uterus (womb); by stopping the release of an egg from the ovaries (ovulation); and by changing the lining of the uterus so that a fertilised egg cannot implant.

In Australia, the contraceptive injection or ‘Depo’ or ‘the injection’ is sold as Depo-Provera® or Depo-Ralovera®. Each injection contains progestogen and prevents pregnancy for 12 weeks by stopping ovulation.

The intrauterine device (IUD) is a device inserted through the cervix and into the uterus (womb). Like implants, IUDs work in similar ways to stop pregnancy.

The hormone-releasing IUD, better known as the Mirena®, is a small T-shaped plastic device that contains the hormone levonorgestrel. It can prevent pregnancy for up to five years.

The copper IUD is also a small T-shaped plastic device but has copper wire wrapped around its stem. The copper IUD is often used when a hormonal form of contraception can’t be used. The copper UID can stay in place and prevent pregnancy for 5 – 10 years. Now that’s a long time!

All LARC methods have advantages and disadvantages. Some medications can reduce the effectiveness of LARC, while some health conditions may not allow the use of LARC. Talk to your doctor about what’s the best method for you.

It’s important to know that LARC does not provide protection against STIs. Yep, you guessed it! Condoms are the best form of protection against STIs and can be used with all LARC methods.

If you have any questions or want to know more about LARC, ring 1800 451 624 between 9:00am and 5:30pm Monday to Friday to talk with a nurse. It’s confidential and free if you call from a landline.