Hot off the press! 2016 MEC and SPR


Get copies of the brand new 2016 US Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use (MEC) and 2016 US Selected Practice Recommendations for Contraceptive Use (SPR), along with clinical tools for using them. These updated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include new recommendations and new scientific evidence on continuing recommendations. With a soon-to-appear app and currently available reference charts, PDFs, and wheels, providers can have at hand the clinical tools to provide patients with evidence-based care.

Access the recommendations and tools at CDC’s dedicated website page:

“Health care providers can use CDC’s evidence-based guidance when offering quality family planning care to their patients, including helping patients choose the most appropriate contraceptive method for individual circumstances and use that method correctly, consistently, and continuously to maximize effectiveness,” said CDC’s Kate Curtis, PhD.


What is it?

The US MEC recommends which contraceptive methods may be used safely by women who have medical conditions (such as diabetes, migraines, or depression) or who have relevant health characteristics (such as breastfeeding, recent surgery, or obesity).

Most women can use most contraceptive methods safely, including women who have a medical condition. Some medical conditions can increase the risk of some adverse effects from contraceptive. However, these women face even greater risk of adverse effects associated with pregnancy, so safe and effective contraception is important. Long-acting reversible contraceptives would be appropriate.

What’s new since the 2010 MEC?

  • New recommendations for women with the following conditions or characteristics:
    • cystic fibrosis
    • multiple sclerosis
    • using certain psychotropic drugs or St. John’s wort
  • Revised recommendations for with the following conditions:
    • postpartum;
    • breastfeeding;
    • known dyslipidemias
    • migraine headaches
    • superficial venous disease
    • gestational trophoblastic disease
    • sexually transmitted diseases
    • human immunodeficiency virus
    • women using antiretroviral therapy
  • Revised recommendations for emergency contraception, including the use of ulipristal acetate

 MEC Clinical Tools

  1. App, through iTunes
  2. PDF of CDC’s MMWR Recommendations and Reports
  3. Print document of CDC’s MMWR Recommendations and Reports
  4. Summary chart (Spanish soon)
  5. Effectiveness charts
  6. MEC Wheel


What is it?

The U.S. SPR addresses issues regarding initiation and use of specific contraceptive methods and management of certain complications. Most women can start most contraceptive methods any time, according to the CDC. Few, if any, examinations or tests are needed prior to initiation of contraception. And after initiation, routine follow-up is not a general requirement. The SPR provides recommendations for managing bleeding irregularities that can be associated with contraceptives, as well as anticipatory counseling regarding the potential for irregular bleeding.

What’s new since the 2013 SPR?

  • New recommendations for the use of medications to ease insertion of intrauterine devices and
  • Revised recommendations for starting regular contraception after the use of emergency contraceptive pills.

Clinical Tools

  1. App, through iTunes
  2. PDF of CDC’s MMWR Recommendations and Reports
  3. Print document of CDC’s MMWR Recommendations and Reports
  4. Chart on When to start a given contraceptive method
  5. Algorithms on What to do if late, missed, delayed combined hormonal contraceptive
  6. Algorithm on Management IUD in women with PID

 —Submitted by Deborah Kowal, MA, PA, President of Contraceptive Technology Communications, Inc.