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Compliance, Counseling and Satisfaction with Oral Contraceptives: A Prospective Evaluation

Michael J. Rosenberg, Michael S. Waugh and Michael S. Burnhill
Family Planning Perspectives
Vol. 30, No. 2 (Mar. - Apr., 1998), pp. 89-92+104
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
DOI: 10.2307/2991665
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2991665
Page Count: 5
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Compliance, Counseling and Satisfaction with Oral Contraceptives: A Prospective Evaluation
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Abstract

Context: Oral contraceptive users' risk of accidental pregnancy may be higher than it should be, because of inconsistent pill-taking. However, few reliable data are available on pill users' everyday experiences with their method, especially characteristics that may affect consistency of use.Methods: Two months after initiating or resuming oral contraceptive use, a nationwide sample of 943 women completed questionnaires examining their compliance with instructions for proper use, the quality of their interactions with their provider, their satisfaction with the method, and the frequency and costs of visits or calls to their providers because of pill-related side effects. Regression analyses were used to determine the factors associated with compliance difficulties and method dissatisfaction. Results: In all, 47% of users missed one or more pills per cycle, and 22% missed two or more. Women who lacked an established pill-taking routine, who did not read and understand ail of the informational material accompanying the pill package, or who experienced spotting or heavy bleeding had increased odds of missing two or more pills per cycle. Method satisfaction was most likely among women who were aware of the pill's noncontraceptive benefits, were satisfied with their relationship with their provider, had used the pill in the past and experienced few side effects. Some 22% of users called their provider at least once about pill-related side effects, and 9% made at least one visit for this reason; these women spent 25 and 62, respectively, to treat side effects. Conclusions: Improving pill use is a shared responsibility of the provider, the patient and, to a lesser degree, pill manufacturers. Awareness of potential difficulties such as inadequate counseling is a key step in helping women use oral contraceptives effectively.

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