Comparative Effectiveness and Safety of Intrauterine Contraception and Tubal Ligation

Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, Carrie A. Lewis, Melanie S. Dove, Eryn Murphy, Diana Zuckerman, Claudia Nunez-Eddy, Daniel J. Tancredi, Raegan McDonald-Mosley, Sarita Sonalkar, Mark Hathaway, Aileen M. Gariepy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Tubal ligation remains common in the USA, especially among low-income patients. Objective: To compare the effectiveness and safety of intrauterine contraceptives (IUC) to laparoscopic tubal ligation for Medicaid clients. Design: We partnered with patient and clinician stakeholders to conduct a retrospective cohort study using California Medicaid claims for patients who had an IUC placed or laparoscopic tubal ligation performed in 2008–2014, excluding procedures performed within 42 days of a birth. We applied log-linear (Poisson) event-history regression models for clustered person-period data to adjust for sociodemographic variables and pre-procedure health status when examining associations between these contraceptive procedures and claims related to contraceptive failure, complications, and pain in the first year post-procedure. Key Results: We identified 35,705 patients who had a levonorgestrel IUC placed, 23,628 patients who had a copper IUC placed, and 23,965 patients who underwent laparoscopic tubal ligation. In unadjusted analyses, rates of pregnancy within 1 year were similar following levonorgestrel IUC (2.40%) or copper IUC placement (2.99%) or tubal ligation (2.64%). In adjusted analyses, compared to tubal ligation, pregnancy was less common following placement of a levonorgestrel IUC (adj IRR 0.72, 95% CI 0.64–0.82) and similar with placement of a copper IUC (adj IRR 0.92, 95% CI 0.82–1.05). Procedural complications such as infection (0.35% vs. 2.91%) were significantly less common with IUC placement than tubal ligation. Claims for pelvic and abdominal pain decreased in frequency with time since all procedures; 6 to 12 months post-procedure, pelvic pain claims were less common after levonorgestrel IUC (adj IRR 0.69, 95% CI 0.65–0.73) or copper IUC placement (adj IRR 0.70, 95% CI 0.66–0.75) than tubal ligation. Conclusions: IUC appears at least as effective as laparoscopic tubal ligation at 1-year post-procedure with lower rates of infection and pelvic pain 6 to 12 months post-procedure. Clinical Trial Registration: NCT03438682

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • comparative effectiveness
  • disparities
  • female sterilization
  • intrauterine contraception
  • low income
  • Medicaid
  • permanent contraception
  • reproductive justice
  • tubal ligation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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