Contraceptive use among women presenting to pharmacies for emergency contraception: an opportunity for intervention
- 1Clinical Research Fellow, Department of Reproductive and Developmental Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh and Chalmers Sexual and Reproductive Health Centre, Edinburgh, UK
- 2Consultant Gynaecologist, Department of Reproductive and Developmental Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh and Chalmers Sexual and Reproductive Health Centre, Edinburgh, UK
- 3Honorary Professor, Department of Reproductive and Developmental Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
- 4Foundation Trainee Doctor, Great Western Hospital, Swindon, UK
- Correspondence to Dr Lucy Michie, Chalmers Sexual and Reproductive Health Centre, 2a Chalmers Street, Edinburgh EH3 9ES, UK;
- Received 19 July 2013
- Revised 26 November 2013
- Accepted 3 December 2013
- Published Online First 24 January 2014
Objectives Most women who use emergency contraception (EC) do so because of unprotected sexual intercourse or condom failure and so remain at risk of pregnancy unless they commence an effective method of contraception. In Great Britain, increasingly women now choose to obtain EC from a pharmacy; however, pharmacists do not currently provide effective ongoing contraception. We sought to determine the views of women obtaining EC from pharmacies and clinicians working in sexual and reproductive health care (SRH) about the possibility of pharmacists providing a temporary supply of a progestogen-only pill (POP) together with EC.
Methods Self-administered, anonymous questionnaires of (1) women requesting EC from pharmacies in Edinburgh, Scotland and (2) SRH clinicians attending a major UK scientific meeting.
Results A total of 211/232 women completed questionnaires in pharmacies (a 91% response rate). Of those women not using a hormonal method of contraception at the time of EC (n=166; 79%), almost half (44%) wished to use an effective method. Most women (64%) agreed that the option of a pharmacist being able to supply a POP would have been helpful. Among the SRH clinicians, 110 completed questionnaires out of 150 distributed (a 73% response rate). The majority of respondents (92%) were positive about a pharmacist supplying a POP at the time of EC.
Conclusions A reasonable proportion of women requesting EC would like to start using an effective contraceptive method. Both the women and the SRH clinicians we surveyed are positive about the option of a short supply of a POP being provided by the pharmacy in the UK together with EC.