Oral contraceptive compliance in adolescents and young women

Oral contraceptive compliance in adolescents and young women

N. Sikanic Dugic, V. Hirsl Hecej, N. Pustisek, M.L. Domljan

Department of Reproductive Health, Children’s Hospital Zagreb, Croatia

Objective: To evaluate and compare sexual behavior and oral

contraceptive compliance (acceptability, continuation rate, side effects) after

one year of combined oral contraceptive (OC) use in adolescents (15–19 y) and

young women (20–24 y).

Methods: 58 girls, adolescents (28/58) and young women (30/58) with

one year of combined low-dose oral contraceptive (OC) use were included. They

attended a gynecological outpatient unit of Children’s Hospital Zagreb and

data were obtained by questionnaires.

Results: 2 out of 58 girls used OC because of hormonal disturbances

and they had no sexual experience. Adolescents had significantly earlier sexual

debut (<15 y) than young women. Both groups have had mostly one partner, but in 26% cases they had multiple sex partners. Discontinuation rate of OC use is high (40,8%) in both groups and the main reason was physician’s recommendation especially in a group of young women. Incidence of side effects during the first three months were similar in both groups (57,2%) and the most frequent were: weight gain, breast tenderness, mood changes and multiple side effects. They commonly missed 1 or more pills per cycle (64%) and one third of OC users had missed pills 3 and more times. Both groups have read information distributed with OC packing and they continued to use pills further. Their partners were supportive of their OC use. In both groups dual consistent use of condoms and OC was similar (12,5%).

Conclusion: Education and counseling of both groups, adolescents and

young women is fundamental to the effective use of contraception. It is

recommended that first follow-up visit is 3 months after starting OC and it

should be viewed as a compliance check.

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