Original Research Article| Volume 103, ISSUE 5, P361-366, May 2021

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Adolescent emergency contraception usage, knowledge, and perception



      We sought to describe the current usage patterns, knowledge regarding, and perception of emergency contraception in adolescent patients.

      Study design

      We surveyed female patients ages 14 to 21 seen at the Pediatric and Gynecology Clinic regarding emergency contraception. We posed questions to understand adolescent awareness, personal usage, and means of obtaining emergency contraception. We also explored respondent knowledge of emergency contraception and potential barriers to access.


      Of 261 patients approached, 253 completed the survey with a mean age of 16.7 ± 1.7 years. The majority of respondents (80.2%) had heard of oral emergency contraceptive pills. Among sexually active adolescents, 25.6 % reported personal use. Older adolescents (≥18 years) were more likely to have heard of emergency contraceptive pills, to know someone who used them, and to have used it themselves compared to younger adolescents (all p < 0.05). A minority of respondents knew that emergency contraception could be bought over the counter regardless of age or gender (44.3%) and that parental consent is not required (27.7%). Having ever been sexually active was associated with an increased odds of being correct with regards to the availability and timing of LNG EC. A history of LNG EC use was associated with an increased likelihood of understanding the mechanism of action and side effects of LNG EC.


      Though adolescents in our population were aware of emergency contraception, only a small portion had used it themselves. Misunderstandings regarding the availability and safety of emergency contraception were common in our population.


      Educating adolescents on the availability, safety, and mechanism of action of LNG EC may improve utilization of LNG EC in this population.


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