Article

Oral contraceptive discontinuation: A prospective evaluation of frequency and reasons

Health Decisions, Inc., Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27514, USA.
American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Impact Factor: 3.97). 10/1998; 179(3 Pt 1):577-82. DOI: 10.1016/S0002-9378(98)70047-X
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Our purpose was to define the frequency and reasons for oral contraceptive discontinuation and subsequent contraceptive behavior.
A nationwide prospective study of 1657 women initiating or switching to the use of a new contraceptive from private practices, clinics, and a health maintenance organization was performed.
Six months after a new oral contraceptive prescription, 68% of new starts and 84% of switchers still used oral contraceptives. Of women who discontinued, 46% did so because of side effects, whereas 23% had no continuing need. More than four fifths of women who discontinued oral contraceptives but remained at risk of unintended pregnancy either failed to adopt another method or adopted a less effective method. Fifteen percent of women who discontinued oral contraceptives resumed their use within the 7-month follow-up period.
Counseling should emphasize the possibility of side effects, stressing the fact that most will be transient, and the need to identify a backup method. Follow-up visits should be scheduled for 1 to 2 months after a prescription is written.

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