Dr. Shrivani Sockanathan of Highland Family Medicine discussed two forms of long acting birth control Friday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“LARC is a type of birth control,” said Dr. Sockanathan. “It stands for Long Acting Reversible Contraception. There are two major types of LARC. One is the IUD, Intrauterine Device. It’s a very small device that’s just placed into the uterus. There’s a few different types of IUDs. Some release hormones into the uterus and some have nothing to do with hormones. And then the second type of LARC is the implant, which is another very small device. It’s placed into the upper arm and releases hormones as well. So both of these options of LARC can be placed in the office. They’re very quick, easy procedures, which is convenient and they’re very effective.”

Dr. Sockanathan said they’re more effective than other types of birth control. “There’s lots of advantages to LARC, one of them being that they’re very easy to use, and they can last for several years before having to worry about replacing them. Most women are used to more traditional types of birth control like the pills, patches, depo shots. All of those are great options and they’re very effective as well, but they do require a lot of work – or some work on the patient’s part to remember to take the pills everyday for example, to make frequent appointments with your doctor’s office to get the depo shots.”

There are side effects to consider. “The biggest side effect is irregular menstrual bleeding, but most women tend to have lighter periods and some have no periods at all, so it’s honestly sometimes an additional perk of them as well,” Dr. Sockanathan said. “A lot of women can get a LARC for free, if not very affordable. A lot of insurances cover the insertion of these devices, and there’s also in New York an additional program called FPBP – the Family Planning Benefit Program – and that’s a public health insurance program that’s aimed at bringing more access to people that want family planning services and can’t necessarily afford them. So that’s a great option as well to help you be able to afford these devices, and a lot of time you can get it placed confidentially too, which is great for people of all ages if you don’t want anyone to know about them.”

For more information on this subject, Dr. Sockanathan said visit this website, LARC.urmc.edu.