Original Article

Advanced Prescription of Emergency Contraceptive Pills Among Adolescents and Young Adults

Authors: Somsook Santibenchakul, MD, MPH, Mary Tschann, PhD, MPH, Alyssa Dee P. Carlson, MPH, Eric L. Hurwitz, PhD, DC, Jennifer Salcedo, MD, MPH, MPP


Objective: To examine healthcare providers’ adherence to professional recommendations for advanced prescription of emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs).

Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of 432 visits by 282 unique nonpregnant women 14 to 25 years of age seen at an obstetrics and gynecology teaching clinic to determine the percentage of visits during which advanced prescriptions of ECPs were provided when indicated. A logistic regression model, which accounted for nonindependent observations through generalized estimating equations, was used to identify factors associated with the provision of ECP advanced prescriptions.

Results: Approximately one-fifth of eligible visits (19.9%) and eligible patients (19.1%) had documentation of an ECP advanced prescription when indicated. Healthcare providers in this clinical setting were more likely to prescribe ECPs to adolescents and women whose primary contraceptive methods were associated with higher failure rates in typical use, such as condoms. Compared with women aged 20 to 25 years, the adjusted odds ratio of receiving an advanced prescription for ECPs was 5.94 (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.85–12.41) for adolescents. Compared with users of depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, the adjusted odds ratio was 4.25 (95% CI 1.62–11.15) for condom users, and 3.90 (95% CI 1.54–9.86) for users of other short-term hormonal contraceptives.

Conclusions: Despite clear professional recommendations for ECP advanced prescriptions for all women at risk for unintended pregnancy, a substantial gap exists between this standard of care and routine clinical service provision in an obstetrics and gynecology teaching clinic.
Posted in: Family Planning & Reproductive Health7

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