Paragard (intrauterine copper contraceptive) is a brand-name IUD prescribed to help prevent pregnancy in some adults and adolescents. Paragard is inserted into the uterus by a healthcare professional and typically lasts up to 10 years.

Paragard is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for birth control in adult and adolescent females* who can become pregnant.

Paragard belongs to a drug class called hormone-free intrauterine devices (IUDs). The active ingredient in Paragard is copper. Paragard isn’t available in a generic version.

Keep reading for specific information about the dosage of Paragard, including its strength and how it’s inserted. For a comprehensive look at Paragard, see this article.

Note: This article describes typical dosages for Paragard provided by the drug’s manufacturer. However, your doctor will prescribe the Paragard dosage that’s right for you.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the term “female” in this article refers to sex assigned at birth.

Read below for details about Paragard’s dosage for its approved uses.

Paragard form

Paragard comes as an IUD wrapped with copper wire. (An IUD is a small T-shaped device.) Your doctor or another healthcare professional will place Paragard inside your uterus.

Paragard strength

Paragard contains 313.4 milligrams (mg) of copper.

Typical dosage

The following information describes Paragard dosing that’s commonly prescribed. However, your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Dosage for birth control

Doctors may prescribe Paragard for hormone-free birth control. If your doctor prescribes Paragard, you’ll likely be able to keep the IUD in place for up to 10 years.

Your doctor will remove the IUD and insert a new device after 10 years. If you want Paragard removed sooner, talk with your doctor. For details about IUD removal, you can read this article.

Children’s dosage

Paragard is approved for use as birth control in females of any age who can become pregnant. Reproductive age typically begins after they have their first period.

The dosage in children is the same as the dosage in adults. A doctor will insert one Paragard IUD for up to 10 years.

Long-term treatment

Paragard can be used as short-term or long-term birth control. If you and your doctor determine that Paragard is safe and effective for you, you can use it for as long as you want to help prevent pregnancy.

Before you start using Paragard, your doctor will discuss your treatment plan with you.

Paragard comes as a copper IUD that your doctor will place inside your uterus during an office visit.

Your doctor will perform a pelvic exam to find the position of your uterus. They’ll put Paragard inside the slim insertion tube that comes with the device. They’ll insert the tube through your cervix and into your uterus and then release the two arms of the device.

After they’ve safely positioned the IUD, they’ll remove the tube, leaving the IUD in place. The IUD has two threads at the end. Your doctor will cut these to the right length. Paragard placement typically takes 5–15 minutes.

You may feel some pain during Paragard placement. To help reduce this, your doctor may give you some pain medication before the procedure. For example, they may put some medicated cream around your cervix to numb the area. They may also give you an oral pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).

If you have questions about Paragard insertion, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. There’s also information about Paragard placement on the manufacturer’s website.

Below are some frequently asked questions about Paragard.

How long does it take for Paragard to start working?

Paragard starts to work to help prevent pregnancy as soon as it’s inserted.

However, it’s possible for Paragard to shift out of place. If this happens, it may not be effective as birth control. If you have concerns that the device has shifted or become displaced, talk with your doctor. They’ll perform a pelvic exam to check the position of the IUD.

Talk with your doctor if you have questions about what to expect with Paragard treatment.

Note: Paragard doesn’t protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You can ask your doctor about effective birth control methods that also protect against STIs.

What is the recommended maximum dosage of Paragard?

The maximum dosage of Paragard that’s recommended is one IUD placement for up to 10 years. After 10 years, your doctor will remove or replace Paragard. You may have it removed earlier by your doctor.

If you’d like to know more about this, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. For details about Paragard’s dosage, see the “Paragard dosage” section above.

The dosage in this article is the typical dosage provided by the drug’s manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Paragard for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.

If you have questions about the dosage of Paragard that’s best for you, talk with your doctor.

Besides learning about dosage, you may want other information about Paragard. These additional articles might be helpful:

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.