Levonorgestrel intrauterine system (Mirena, Skyla) is used to prevent pregnancy. The manufacturer states that Mirena brand intrauterine system should normally be used only by women who have given birth to at least one child, but some experts state that these systems may be used safely in women who have not had children. The Skyla brand intrauterine system can be used by women who have given birth and by women who have never given birth. The Mirena brand intrauterine system is also used to treat heavy menstrual bleeding in women who want to use an intrauterine system to prevent pregnancy. Levonorgestrel is in a class of medications called hormonal contraceptives. Levonorgestrel intrauterine system works by thinning the lining of the uterus (womb) to prevent pregnancy from developing, thickening the mucus at the cervix (entrance to the uterus) to prevent sperm from entering, and preventing sperm from moving and surviving in the uterus. Levonorgestrel may also prevent ovulation (release of an egg from the ovaries) in some women. Levonorgestrel intrauterine system is an effective method of birth control but it does not prevent the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Levonorgestrel intrauterine system is a small, flexible, t-shaped plastic device to be inserted into the uterus by a health-care provider. The Mirena brand intrauterine system may be left in place for up to 5 years after it is inserted and the Skyla brand intrauterine system may be left in place for up to 3 years after it is inserted. If you still want to use an intrauterine system to prevent pregnancy after this time has passed, your healthcare provider can insert a new system as soon as the old system is removed. Both intrauterine systems may be removed by a doctor any time that you want to become pregnant or want to use a different form of birth control.
Your levonorgestrel intrauterine system should be inserted within the first 7 days after you menstrual period begins, or immediately after a first-trimester abortion. If you have given birth, had a miscarriage, or had a second-trimester abortion, your intrauterine system should not be inserted until at least 6 weeks have passed and a physical exam shows that your uterus has recovered from the pregnancy.
You will need to to have your intrauterine system inserted in your health-care provider's office or clinic. Your health-care provider may tell you to take a nonprescription pain reliever prior to your appointment to help decrease cramping during and after the placement. You may experience some of these symptoms during and after the placement: sweating, pale skin, fast heartbeat, fainting, dizziness, cramping, and bleeding. Tell your health-care provider if your cramping is severe or if these symptoms last for longer than 30 minutes. Your health-care provider will check you to be sure that your system has been placed correctly.
Call your doctor if you experience severe pain during the first few hours after your intrauterine system is inserted. This may be a sign of a serious infection.
Your health-care provider will place your intrauterine system into your uterus, but will leave two threads dangling through your cervix. You should check for these threads after each menstrual period so that you will know whether your intrauterine system is still in place. To check for the threads, you should wash your hands with soap and water. Then, reach up to the top of your vagina with clean fingers to feel the threads. If you cannot feel the threads or if you feel any part of the intrauterine system other than the threads, your intrauterine system may not be in place and may not prevent pregnancy. If this happens, call your doctor and use a non-hormonal birth control method such as condoms and spermicide to prevent pregnancy until you are seen by your doctor.
You will need a follow-up appointment with your health-care provider 4-12 weeks after your Mirena brand system is inserted or 4-6 weeks after your Skyla brand system is inserted to be sure that your system is properly in place. After this appointment, you will need to be examined once every year or more often if you have any problems or concerns.
If your levonorgestrel intrauterine system must be removed, talk to your doctor about the best time to remove it. You are not protected from pregnancy once your intrauterine system is removed, so if you do not want to become pregnant, you will need to be sure that you have effective birth control as soon as your intrauterine system is removed. If you plan to have your intrauterine system replaced with a new intrauterine system, you can have the old system removed and the new system inserted at any time during your menstrual cycle. If you have chosen to use a different form of birth control instead of your intrauterine system and you have regular menstrual cycles, you should have the system removed during the first 7 days after your menstrual period begins and begin using your new form of birth control right away. If you have chosen to use a different form of birth control and you do not have regular cycles, you do not menstruate at all, or you are not able to have your intrauterine system removed during the first 7 days of your menstrual period, you should start using your new form of birth control 7 days before your intrauterine system is removed.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
cramps or pain during menstruation
decreased sexual desire
unwanted hair growth
foul-smelling or unusual vaginal discharge
pain during sex
sores on the genital area
yellowing of the skin or eyes
sudden weakness of an arm or leg
drooping of one side of the face
difficulty speaking or understanding
crushing chest or shoulder pain
swelling of the arms, hands, legs, or feet
Levonorgestrel intrauterine system may increase the risk that you will develop a cyst on your ovary. This type of cyst may cause pain but will usually disappear in 1-2 months. In rare cases, surgery to remove the cyst may be needed. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using a levonorgestrel intrauterine system.
Levonorgestrel intrauterine system may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while your intrauterine system is in place.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
If you have a Skyla brand intrauterine system, tell your doctor and the radiology staff that you have this type of intrauterine system before you undergo a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.
Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about levonorgestrel intrauterine system.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Last Revised - 12/15/2013
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2015. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.