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The new UK Medical Eligibility Criteria (UKMEC): what has changed?
  1. Laura Percy
  1. ST6, Community Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, New Croft Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Laura Percy, Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, New Croft Centre, Market Street (East), Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6ND, UK; laura.percy2{at}nuth.nhs.uk

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Introduction

A welcome update of the UK Medical Eligibility Criteria (UKMEC) will be published in April 2016.1 It continues the UKMEC's role of providing guidance on the safety of contraceptive methods with regard to numerous medical conditions and patient characteristics. UKMEC 2016 is not designed to address the use of contraceptives for non-contraceptive indications (e.g. heavy menstrual bleeding). It does not consider the efficacy of a given method, nor the impact of the treatment for a given condition with regard to efficacy or drug interaction. Finally, it is not intended to replace clinical judgement. This editorial aims to provide an overview of new additions and notable changes to the UKMEC in relation to clinical practice.1

Revised format

One of the most immediately notable features of the new UKMEC is the alteration in the order in which the methods of contraception are presented. The long-acting reversible methods (LARC) are presented first, followed by medium- and then shorter-acting methods. This change clearly reflects the importance of promoting LARC use, particularly for women for whom pregnancy would pose a significant risk to their health due to their medical history (e.g. cystic fibrosis or complicated valvular heart disease). That said, the UKMEC continues to strenuously advocate that providing a …

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