The concept of hormonal contraception is believed to have begun in the early 1900s, with the first oral contraceptive coming onto the market in 1960. The contraceptive pill revolutionized society and in recent years, there has been an escalation in the range of hormonal contraceptive options available. Long-term contraceptives have been designed to deliver hormones via injections, implants, intrauterine devices, vaginal rings, and transdermal patches as alternatives to the traditional short-term oral contraceptives (OCs). The overall effect has been an increase in compliance, greater usercontrol and a decrease in side-effects. This review will examine the range of products that are available commercially and compare their efficacy, health risks, side-effects and non-contraceptive benefits. There is a continuing demand for new products that protect the health of the user as well as preventing pregnancy. Potential areas where new products may arise in the future are considered.
Keywords: hormones, oral contraceptives, implants, intrauterine devices, vaginal rings, transdermal patches
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