BACKGROUND: The oral contraceptive pill (OCP) remains the most popular form of prescription contraception in many countries, despite adherence difficulties for many. Uptake of long acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), which are less reliant on user adherence, remains low. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of, and attitudes towards, prescription contraception amongst samples of contraception users, general practitioners (GPs) and pharmacists.<br /><br />METHODOLOGY AND FINDINGS: We conducted a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with 18 contraception users, 18 GPs and 9 pharmacists. The study took place in Galway, Republic of Ireland between June and September 2014. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Overall, contraception users were more familiar with the OCP, and all the women interviewed began their prescription contraception journey using this method. All participants identified episodes of poor adherence throughout the reproductive life course. The identified barriers for use of LARCs were lack of information, misconceptions, lack of access and high cost. In contrast, GPs believed that adherence to the OCP was good and stated they were more likely to prescribe the OCP than other methods, as they were most familiar with this option. Barriers to prescribing LARCSs were time, cost to practice, training and deskilling. Pharmacists also believed that adherence to the OCP was generally good and that their role was limited to dispensing medication and providing information when asked.<br /><br />DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: There are contrasting perspectives between contraception service providers and contraceptive users. Training for healthcare providers is required to support informed contraceptive choice and adherence. It is necessary to address the practice barriers of cost and lack of time, to promote better communication around adherence issues and prescription contraception options. There is a need for more easily-accessible public health information to promote awareness on all methods of prescription contraception.
Sweeney, L. A., Molloy, G. J., Byrne, M., Murphy, A. W., Morgan, K., Hughes, C. M., & Ingham, R. (2015). A qualitative study of prescription contraception use: The perspectives of users, general practitioners and pharmacists. PLoS ONE, 10(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0144074