Sexual and reproductive health

Hormonal contraception and liver disease

WHO provider brief - Contraception 80 (2009) 325–326

World Health Organization, Department of Reproductive Health and Research

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Publication details

Number of pages: 2
Publication date: 2009
Languages: English - Web only


Women of reproductive age with liver diseases, including chronic infection with the hepatitis B or C virus, typically remain fertile and have the same contraceptive needs as other women of reproductive age without liver disease. Hormonal contraceptives, such as oral pills, subcutaneous implants, injectables, skin patches and vaginal rings, consist of an estrogen, a progestogen or a combination of both. Because these hormones may have effects on and are metabolized by the liver, certain considerations must be taken into account when helping women with liver disease choose an appropriate contraceptive method.

This Provider Brief aims to present the reasoning behind the current WHO Medical Eligibility Criteria recommendations for hormonal contraceptive use among women with liver disease, reflecting the evidence discussed from the Technical Consultation on Hormonal Contraception and Liver Metabolism/ Disorders and Drug Interactions which took place in Geneva in January 2008.

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