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Norplant Wins Teen-Age Fans

September 16, 1993|THE WASHINGTON POST

Norplant, the long-term contraceptive implant, is well-tolerated by adolescents, according to a study by researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. The six-month study of 21 teen-agers and 30 adult women found that adolescents liked using Norplant as much as adults and experienced no more side effects than older women.

Slightly more than half of teen-agers 15 to 19 are sexually active, according to the 1988 Survey of Family Growth, a national poll of families. Yet because regular use of contraceptives by adolescents lags far behind sexual activity, teen-age pregnancy rates continue to soar.

Unlike pills, Norplant eliminates daily compliance problems since it provides protection for up to five years.

Some 86% of the teen-agers in the study said they "preferred Norplant to their previous contraceptive method," wrote the study's authors, physician Abbey B. Berenson and obstetrics/gynecology instructor Constance M. Wiemann, in the journal Pediatrics.

But the authors also caution that teen-agers must also be warned that, unlike condoms, the contraceptive offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases.

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