Clinical Trial on Skyla

The contraceptive efficacy of Skyla was studied in a 3-year clinical trial. Find out more about the trial’s design, study sites, demographics, discontinuation rates and efficacy outcome.


  • Randomized, multicenter, multinational, open-label, 3-year trial
  • Included generally healthy women, of whom 1432 received Skyla
  • Aged 18 to 35 years
  • Of women receiving Skyla, 38.8% (556) were nulliparous
  • Weight range for treated women:
    • 38 to 155 kg (mean weight: 68.7 kg)
    • Mean BMI: 25.3 kg/m2 (range: 16-55 kg/m2)
  • Women less than 6 weeks postpartum, with a history of ectopic pregnancy, with clinically significant ovarian cysts, with HIV or otherwise at high risk for sexually transmitted infections were excluded

Multinational study sites

  • Conducted in 11 countries in Europe, Latin America, the United States and Canada

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Discontinuation rates

  • Of Skyla-treated women, 21.9% discontinued the study treatment due to an adverse event, 4.4% were lost to follow up, 1.8% withdrew for unspecified reasons, 1.1% discontinued due to protocol deviation, 0.6% discontinued due to pregnancy, and 13.0% discontinued due to other reasons.

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  • The pregnancy rate–calculated as the Pearl Index–was the primary efficacy endpoint used to assess contraceptive reliability
    • Pearl Index calculations based on 28-day equivalent exposure cycles; evaluable cycles excluded those in which back-up contraception was used unless a pregnancy occurred in that cycle
    • Skyla-treated women provided 15,763 evaluable 28-day cycle equivalents in year 1 and 39,368 evaluable cycles over the 3-year treatment period
  • Estimated Pearl Index after year 1 = 0.41 [95% upper confidence limit = 0.96]
    • Based on 5 pregnancies occurring after the onset of treatment and within 7 days after Skyla removal or expulsion
  • Cumulative 3-year pregnancy rate = 0.9% [95% upper confidence limit = 1.7%]
    • Based on 10 pregnancies, estimated by Kaplan-Meier method
  • About 77% of women who desired pregnancy after study discontinuation and provided follow-up information, conceived within 12 months after removal of Skyla

Adverse Events - Clinical Trials Experience

  • Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in clinical practice.
  • The data described below reflect exposure to Skyla in 1,672 patients in two contraception studies, including 1,383 exposed for one year and 993 who completed the three year studies. The population was generally healthy, 18 to 40-year old females requesting contraception and predominately Caucasian (82.6%). The data cover more than 40,000 cycles of exposure. The frequencies of reported adverse drug reactions represent crude incidences.
  • Most common adverse reactions (occurring in ≥ 5% users) were increased bleeding (7.8%), vulvovaginitis (20.2%), abdominal/pelvic pain (18.9%), acne/seborrhea (15.0%), ovarian cyst (13.2%), headache (12.4%), dysmenorrhea (8.6%), breast pain/discomfort (8.6%) and nausea (5.5%).
  • In the contraception studies, 18% discontinued prematurely due to an adverse reaction. The most common adverse reactions leading to discontinuation (in >1% of users) were uterine bleeding complaints (4.6%), device expulsion (3.2%), acne/seborrhea (2.9%), abdominal pain (2.5%) dysmenorrhea/uterine spasms (2.0%) and pelvic pain (1.8%).
  • Other common adverse reactions (occurring in ≥ 1% users) by System Organ Class (SOC): The frequencies of adverse reactions observed in clinical trials are summarized in Table 3 by SOC (presented as crude incidences).

aOvarian cysts were reported as adverse events if they were abnormal, non-functional cysts and/or had a diameter >3 cm on ultrasound examination
bNot all bleeding alterations were captured as adverse reactions

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Skyla® (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system) 13.5mg is indicated for the prevention of pregnancy for up to 3 years. Replace the system after 3 years if continued use is desired.


Who is not appropriate for Skyla

Skyla is contraindicated in women with: known or suspected pregnancy and cannot be used for post-coital contraception; congenital or acquired uterine anomaly, including fibroids if they distort the uterine cavity; known or suspected breast cancer or other progestin-sensitive cancer, now or in the past; known or suspected uterine or cervical neoplasia; liver disease, including tumors; untreated acute cervicitis or vaginitis, including lower genital tract infections (eg, bacterial vaginosis) until infection is controlled; postpartum endometritis or infected abortion in the past 3 months; unexplained uterine bleeding; current IUD; acute pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or history of PID (except with later intrauterine pregnancy); conditions increasing susceptibility to pelvic infection; or hypersensitivity to any component of Skyla.

Clinical considerations for use and removal of Skyla

Use Skyla with caution after careful assessment in patients with coagulopathy or taking anticoagulants; migraine, focal migraine with asymmetrical visual loss, or other symptoms indicating transient cerebral ischemia; exceptionally severe headache; marked increase of blood pressure; or severe arterial disease such as stroke or myocardial infarction. Consider removing Skyla if these or the following arise during use: uterine or cervical malignancy or jaundice. If the threads are not visible or are significantly shortened they may have broken or retracted into the cervical canal or uterus. If Skyla is displaced (e.g., expelled or perforated the uterus), remove it. Skyla can be safely scanned with MRI only under specific conditions.

Pregnancy related risks with Skyla

If pregnancy should occur with Skyla in place, remove Skyla because leaving it in place may increase the risk of spontaneous abortion and preterm labor. Removal or manipulation may result in pregnancy loss. Evaluate women for ectopic pregnancy because the likelihood of a pregnancy being ectopic is increased with Skyla. Also consider the possibility of ectopic pregnancy in the case of lower abdominal pain, especially in association with missed menses or if an amenorrheic woman starts bleeding. Tell women about the signs of ectopic pregnancy and associated risks, including loss of fertility. Women with a history of ectopic pregnancy, tubal surgery, or pelvic infection carry a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy.

Educate her about PID

Skyla is contraindicated in the presence of known or suspected PID or in women with a history of PID, unless there has been a subsequent intrauterine pregnancy. IUDs have been associated with an increased risk of PID, most likely due to organisms being introduced into the uterus during insertion. Promptly examine users with complaints of lower abdominal pain or pelvic pain, odorous discharge, unexplained bleeding, fever, genital lesions or sores. Inform women about the possibility of PID and that PID can cause tubal damage leading to ectopic pregnancy or infertility, or infrequently can necessitate hysterectomy, or cause death. PID is often associated with sexually transmitted infections (STIs); Skyla does not protect against STIs, including HIV. PID may be asymptomatic but still result in tubal damage and its sequelae.

In Skyla clinical trials, PID occurred more frequently within the first year and most often within the first month after insertion.

Expect changes in bleeding patterns

Spotting and irregular or heavy bleeding may occur during the first 3 to 6 months. Periods may become shorter and/or lighter thereafter. Cycles may remain irregular, become infrequent, or even cease. Consider pregnancy if menstruation does not occur within 6 weeks of the onset of previous menstruation.

Because irregular bleeding/spotting is common during the first months of Skyla use, exclude endometrial pathology (polyps or cancer) prior to the insertion of Skyla in women with persistent or uncharacteristic bleeding. If a significant change in bleeding develops during prolonged use, take appropriate diagnostic measures to rule out endometrial pathology.

Be aware of other serious complications and most common adverse reactions

Some serious complications with IUDs like Skyla are sepsis, perforation and expulsion. Severe infection, or sepsis, including Group A streptococcoal sepsis (GAS) have been reported following insertion of a LNG-releasing IUS. Aseptic technique during insertion of Skyla is essential in order to minimize serious infections, such as GAS.

Perforation (total or partial, including penetration/embedment of Skyla in the uterine wall or cervix) may occur, most often during insertion, although the perforation may not be detected until sometime later. Perforation may reduce contraceptive efficacy. If perforation occurs, locate and remove Skyla. Surgery may be required. Delayed detection or removal of Skyla in case of perforation may result in migration outside the uterine cavity, adhesions, peritonitis, intestinal perforations, intestinal obstruction, abscesses, and erosion of adjacent viscera. The risk of perforation may be increased if inserted when the uterus is not completely involuted or fixed retroverted. A postmarketing safety study over a 1-year observational period reported that lactation at the time of insertion of an IUS/IUD was associated with an increased risk of perforation. In this study, for users of another LNG-releasing IUS, the incidence of uterine perforation was reported as 6.3 per 1,000 insertions for lactating women, compared to 1.0 per 1,000 insertions for non-lactating women.

Partial or complete expulsion of Skyla may occur resulting in the loss of contraceptive protection. Delay insertion a minimum of six weeks or until uterine involution is complete following a delivery or a second trimester abortion. Remove a partially expelled Skyla. If expulsion has occurred, a new Skyla can be inserted any time the provider can be reasonably certain the woman is not pregnant.

Ovarian cysts may occur and are generally asymptomatic but may be accompanied by pelvic pain or dyspareunia. Evaluate persistent enlarged ovarian cysts.

The most common adverse reactions (≥5%) were vulvovaginitis (20.2%), abdominal/pelvic pain (18.9%), acne/seborrhea (15.0%), ovarian cyst (13.2%), headache (12.4%), dysmenorrhea (8.6%), breast pain/discomfort (8.6%), increased bleeding (7.8%), and nausea (5.5%).

Teach patients to recognize and immediately report signs or symptoms of the aforementioned conditions. Evaluate patients 4 to 6 weeks after insertion and then yearly or more often if clinically indicated.

For important information about Skyla, please see the Full Prescribing Information.

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