Community pharmacy supply of emergency contraception: changes in user profiles over time

Community pharmacy supply of emergency contraception: changes in user

profiles over time

K. Black (1), B. Taylor (2), T. Carson (2), K. Nanchahal (3), A. Kubba (1),

K. Wellings (3)

Department of Reproductive and Sexual Health, Lambeth Primary Care Trust,

London, UK (1); Pharmacy Team, Southwark Primary Care Trust (2); Department of

Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (3)

Introduction: The success of pharmacy availability of Hormonal

Emergency Contraception (EHC) has been demonstrated in the south London boroughs

of Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham through an innovative Health Action Zone (HAZ)

pilot project. The project aimed to increase awareness of and access to EHC, as

part of the strategy to reduce the unplanned, particularly teenage, pregnancy

rate. Together these boroughs make up a third of the most deprived health areas

in the country and have one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in England.

The HAZ project allows community pharmacists working to a Patient Group

Direction to supply EHC free of charge.

Aims and Methods: The aim of the study was investigate changes over

time in the profile of women accessing EHC through the community pharmacy

service. The service collected data on its users continuously from April 2000 to

March 2001 and subsequently in 2 weekly audit cycles during March 2002, January

2003 and September 2003. From the 4 cycles of data collection, 5155 cases were

available for analysis.

Results: Although there was an increase over time in the number of

women presenting in less than 24 hours from unprotected sex for EHC from 71.6%

in 2000 to 75.6% in 2003, this did not reach statistical significance (p=0.186).

Over time more women accessed the service on weekends and after hours

(p<0.001 and p=0.056 respectively). There was a significant shift over time toward younger women (16–19 years) accessing theservice (p<0.001) and a decrease in the number of women who reported using regular.

Conclusions: Community pharmacy access to EHC has been a popular

service and an increasing proportion of women is taking advantage of the weekend

and after hours opening times. Younger women, whom the service set out to

target, are accessing EHC through pharmacies in increasing numbers. Of some

concern in the utilisation of the service is a reported fall in the number of

women using regular contraception.

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