WHO releases Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive use (MEC) 5th Edition 2015 (1 June 2015)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently released the fifth edition of ‘Medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use (MEC)’.

Target audience: Policy makers, family planning programme managers and the scientific community.

Key Messages:

All recommendations are evidence based following the GRADE approach. The strength of evidence for each recommendation is provided.

The document describes four MEC categories for contraceptive eligibility:

  • Category 1: A condition for which there is no restriction for the use of the contraceptive method
  • Category 2: A condition where the advantages of using the method generally outweigh the theoretical or proven risks
  • Category 3: A condition where the theoretical or proven risks usually outweigh the advantages of using the method
  • Category 4: A condition which represents an unacceptable health risk if the contraceptive method is used.

Compared to the fourth edition, the current edition provides recommendations for the following new methods:

  • subcutaneously-administered depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA-SC)
  • Sino-implant (II)
  • emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) – ulipristal acetate (UPA) as a new method added to the guideline; use of CYP3A4 inducers and obesity as new conditions for ECP use
  • progesterone-releasing vaginal ring

Note: The document will be available online by 1 July 2015 (estimated). However, the following are currently available:

Executive summary of the latest recommendations

Medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use Wheel 2015 edition

Medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use (MEC) fourth edition 2010

Useful Links:

Link to the MEC fifth edition 2015 Executive Summary:

http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/172915/1/WHO_RHR_15.07_eng.pdf?ua=1&ua=1

Link to the MEC Wheel 2015 Edition:

http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/173585/1/9789241549257_eng.pdf?ua=1

Link to the MEC fourth edition 2010:

http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2010/9789241563888_eng.pdf?ua=1

Link to WHO’s Sexual and Reproductive Health page dealing with family planning:

http://who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/family_planning/en/

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