16 Mar Should Teenagers Be Able To Get Oral Contraceptives Over The Counter?
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Krishna K. Upadhya, M.D., M.P.H.
Division of General Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine
Department of Pediatrics
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD 21287
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Our study reviewed medical literature to examine the question of whether minor teens should be treated differently from older women with regard to a future over the counter oral contraceptive product. Our analysis found that oral contraceptive pills are safe and effective for teens and there is no scientific rationale to restrict access to a future oral contraceptive pill based on age.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Minor adolescents who have sex are at risk of unplanned pregnancy, just like other women, and have the potential to benefit from over-the-counter contraceptives. Oral contraceptives are safe and effective for adolescents. Access to contraceptives doesn’t increase sexual risk behaviors among teens but does reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancy.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: If an oral contraceptive pill does become available over-the-counter in the United States, it will be important to evaluate the impact on rates of use of effective contraception among teens and other women.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: Over the counter contraception would provide one effective contraceptive option for women and teens who aren’t able to access a clinic or don’t have insurance. Over the counter status won’t solve the access problem, however, unless women can afford the product. Additionally, while oral contraceptive pills are safe and effective, many women and teens may prefer other contraceptive methods, including implants or IUDs which will still require a clinic visit. Continued funding for family planning clinics and insurance coverage for contraception will remain critical to ensuring access to contraception.
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Krishna K. Upadhya, John S. Santelli, Tina R. Raine-Bennett, Melissa J. Kottke, Daniel Grossman. Over-the-Counter Access to Oral Contraceptives for Adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.12.024
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