EC Use by Women 17 and Under: 93% of Study Participants Correctly Use

In An Over-the-Counter Simulation Study of a Single-Tablet Emergency Contraceptive in Young Females, published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, authors Tina R. Raine, et al, sought to evaluate the use of single-tablet emergency contraceptive (EC) administered to young females under simulated over-the-counter conditions.  They also assessed repeat use, pregnancy status, and adverse events.

The authors utilized females of ages 11–17 who were requesting emergency contraception at teen reproductive health clinics in five cities.  Without any prior interaction with pharmacists, participantss read the study product label and determined whether and how to use the EC.  EC was given to participants who appropriately chose to use it, and study participants were contacted  1, 4, and 8 weeks later in order to assess their repeat use, pregnancy, and adverse events.

In total, 345 females enrolled.  Of this 345, the majority (279) were younger than age 17.  Among the 298 participants who chose to use the EC, 274 (92.9%) correctly used it as labeled.  Fifty-seven participants (18.8%) used additional emergency contraception over the study period and 7 participants who used EC became pregnant (2.0%).  There were no unusual adverse event and selection and correct use was not associated with age.

The authors’ findings provide a high level of support for the ability of females younger than age 17 years to appropriately select and correctly use a single EC tablet.

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