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Concept: Emergency contraception

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Background Texas is one of several states that have barred Planned Parenthood affiliates from providing health care services with the use of public funds. After the federal government refused to allow (and courts blocked) the exclusion of Planned Parenthood affiliates from the Texas Medicaid fee-for-service family-planning program, Texas excluded them from a state-funded replacement program, effective January 1, 2013. We assessed rates of contraceptive-method provision, method continuation through the program, and childbirth covered by Medicaid before and after the Planned Parenthood exclusion. Methods We used all program claims from 2011 through 2014 to examine changes in the number of claims for contraceptives according to method for 2 years before and 2 years after the exclusion. Among women using injectable contraceptives at baseline, we observed rates of contraceptive continuation through the program and of childbirth covered by Medicaid. We used the difference-in-differences method to compare outcomes in counties with Planned Parenthood affiliates with outcomes in those without such affiliates. Results After the Planned Parenthood exclusion, there were estimated reductions in the number of claims from 1042 to 672 (relative reduction, 35.5%) for long-acting, reversible contraceptives and from 6832 to 4708 (relative reduction, 31.1%) for injectable contraceptives (P<0.001 for both comparisons). There was no significant change in the number of claims for short-acting hormonal contraceptive methods during this period. Among women using injectable contraceptives, the percentage of women who returned for a subsequent on-time contraceptive injection decreased from 56.9% among those whose subsequent injections were due before the exclusion to 37.7% among those whose subsequent injections were due after the exclusion in the counties with Planned Parenthood affiliates but increased from 54.9% to 58.5% in the counties without such affiliates (estimated difference in differences in counties with affiliates as compared with those without affiliates, -22.9 percentage points; P<0.001). During this period in counties with Planned Parenthood affiliates, the rate of childbirth covered by Medicaid increased by 1.9 percentage points (a relative increase of 27.1% from baseline) within 18 months after the claim (P=0.01). Conclusions The exclusion of Planned Parenthood affiliates from a state-funded replacement for a Medicaid fee-for-service program in Texas was associated with adverse changes in the provision of contraception. For women using injectable contraceptives, there was a reduction in the rate of contraceptive continuation and an increase in the rate of childbirth covered by Medicaid. (Funded by the Susan T. Buffett Foundation.).

Concepts: Pregnancy, Birth control, Emergency contraception, Hormonal contraception, Combined oral contraceptive pill, Menstrual cycle, Sex education, Combined injectable contraceptive

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Background Little is known about whether contemporary hormonal contraception is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Methods We assessed associations between the use of hormonal contraception and the risk of invasive breast cancer in a nationwide prospective cohort study involving all women in Denmark between 15 and 49 years of age who had not had cancer or venous thromboembolism and who had not received treatment for infertility. Nationwide registries provided individually updated information about the use of hormonal contraception, breast-cancer diagnoses, and potential confounders. Results Among 1.8 million women who were followed on average for 10.9 years (a total of 19.6 million person-years), 11,517 cases of breast cancer occurred. As compared with women who had never used hormonal contraception, the relative risk of breast cancer among all current and recent users of hormonal contraception was 1.20 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.14 to 1.26). This risk increased from 1.09 (95% CI, 0.96 to 1.23) with less than 1 year of use to 1.38 (95% CI, 1.26 to 1.51) with more than 10 years of use (P=0.002). After discontinuation of hormonal contraception, the risk of breast cancer was still higher among the women who had used hormonal contraceptives for 5 years or more than among women who had not used hormonal contraceptives. Risk estimates associated with current or recent use of various oral combination (estrogen-progestin) contraceptives varied between 1.0 and 1.6. Women who currently or recently used the progestin-only intrauterine system also had a higher risk of breast cancer than women who had never used hormonal contraceptives (relative risk, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.11 to 1.33). The overall absolute increase in breast cancers diagnosed among current and recent users of any hormonal contraceptive was 13 (95% CI, 10 to 16) per 100,000 person-years, or approximately 1 extra breast cancer for every 7690 women using hormonal contraception for 1 year. Conclusions The risk of breast cancer was higher among women who currently or recently used contemporary hormonal contraceptives than among women who had never used hormonal contraceptives, and this risk increased with longer durations of use; however, absolute increases in risk were small. (Funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.).

Concepts: Birth control, Emergency contraception, Breast cancer, Hormonal contraception, Combined oral contraceptive pill

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Oral contraceptives have been used by hundreds of millions of women around the world. Important questions remain regarding the very long-term cancer risks associated with oral contraception. Despite previous research important questions remain about the safety of these contraceptives: i) how long do endometrial, ovarian and colorectal cancer benefits persist for? ii) does combined oral contraceptive use during the reproductive years produce new cancer risks later in life? and iii) what is the overall balance of cancer among past users as they enter the later stages of their lives?

Concepts: Pregnancy, Birth control, Emergency contraception, Sexual intercourse, Hormonal contraception, Combined oral contraceptive pill, Colorectal cancer, Menstrual cycle

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BACKGROUND: Data for trends in contraceptive use and need are necessary to guide programme and policy decisions and to monitor progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5, which calls for universal access to contraceptive services. We therefore aimed to estimate trends in contraceptive use and unmet need in developing countries in 2003, 2008, and 2012 . METHODS: We obtained data from national surveys for married and unmarried women aged 15-49 years in regions and subregions of developing countries. We estimated trends in the numbers and proportions of women wanting to avoid pregnancy, according to whether they were using modern contraceptives, or had unmet need for modern methods (ie, using no methods or a traditional method). We used comparable data sources and methods for three reference years (2003, 2008, and 2012). National survey data were available for 81-98% of married women using and with unmet need for modern methods. FINDINGS: The number of women wanting to avoid pregnancy and therefore needing effective contraception increased substantially, from 716 million (54%) of 1321 million in 2003, to 827 million (57%) of 1448 million in 2008, to 867 million (57%) of 1520 million in 2012. Most of this increase (108 million) was attributable to population growth. Use of modern contraceptive methods also increased, and the overall proportion of women with unmet need for modern methods among those wanting to avoid pregnancy decreased from 29% (210 million) in 2003, to 26% (222 million) in 2012. However, unmet need for modern contraceptives was still very high in 2012, especially in sub-Saharan Africa (53 million [60%] of 89 million), south Asia (83 million [34%] of 246 million), and western Asia (14 million [50%] of 27 million). Moreover, a shift in the past decade away from sterilisation, the most effective method, towards injectable drugs and barrier methods, might have led to increases in unintended pregnancies in women using modern methods. INTERPRETATION: Achievement of the desired number and healthy timing of births has important benefits for women, families, and societies. To meet the unmet need for modern contraception, countries need to increase resources, improve access to contraceptive services and supplies, and provide high-quality services and large-scale public education interventions to reduce social barriers. Our findings confirm a substantial and unfinished agenda towards meeting of couples' reproductive needs. FUNDING: UK Department for International Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

Concepts: Pregnancy, Birth control, Emergency contraception, Marriage, Abortion, Condom, Need, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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Previous studies have shown changes in women’s behavior and physical appearance between the non-fertile and fertile phases of the menstrual cycle. It is assumed that these changes are regulated by fluctuations in sex hormone levels across the cycle. Receptors for sex hormones have been found on the vocal folds, suggesting a link between hormone levels and vocal fold function, which might cause changes in voice production. However, attempts to identify changes in voice production across the menstrual cycle have produced mixed results. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate changes in sexually dimorphic vocal characteristics and quality of women’s voices in different phases of the cycle and to compare these with users of monophasic hormonal contraception. Voice samples (vowel phonation) of 44 naturally cycling women were obtained in the menstrual, late follicular (confirmed by LH surge) and luteal phases, and in 20 hormonal contraceptive users across equivalent stages of the monthly cycle. Results showed that voices of naturally cycling women had higher minimum pitch in the late follicular phase compared with the other phases. In addition, voice intensity was at its lowest in the luteal phase. In contrast, there were no voice changes across the cycle in hormonal contraceptive users. Comparison between the two groups of women revealed that the naturally cycling group had higher minimum pitch in the fertile phase and higher harmonics to noise ratio in the menstrual phase. In general, present results support the assumption that sex hormones might have an effect on voice function. These results, coupled with mixed findings in previous studies, suggest that vocal changes in relation to hormonal fluctuation are subtle, at least during vowel production. Future studies should explore voice changes in a defined social context and with more free-flowing speech.

Concepts: Birth control, Emergency contraception, Hormonal contraception, Combined oral contraceptive pill, Menstrual cycle, Human voice, Ovulation, Implanon

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We conducted a systematic review to assess whether follow-up visits or contacts after a woman begins using contraception improve method continuation and correct use.

Concepts: Birth control, Emergency contraception, Woman

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Oral contraceptives (OCs) are used by millions of women in the U.S. The requirement to obtain OCs by prescription from a clinician may serve as a barrier to contraceptive initiation and continuation for women, in particular adolescents. Over-the-counter (OTC) availability would reduce this barrier and could further reduce unintended pregnancy rates. This review explores the scientific issues and regulatory processes involved in switching OCs to OTC status for minor adolescents. We review: (1) the regulatory criteria for switching a drug to OTC status; (2) risk of pregnancy and safety during use of OCs including combined oral contraceptives and progestin-only pills for adolescents; (3) the ability of adolescents to use OCs consistently and correctly; (4) OTC access to OCs and potential effect on sexual risk behaviors; and (5) the potential for reduced opportunities for clinicians to counsel and provide recommended reproductive health care to adolescents. We find strong scientific rationale for including adolescents in any regulatory change to switch OCs to OTC status. OCs are safe and highly effective among adolescents; contraindications are rarer among adolescents compared to adult women. Ready access to OCs, condoms, and emergency contraception increases their use without increasing sexual risk behaviors.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Birth control, Emergency contraception, Sexual intercourse, Family planning, Combined oral contraceptive pill, Abortion, Condom

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Although hormonal contraceptives may help acne or worsen it, there is limited evidence on the effects of many commonly prescribed agents. The present study evaluates patient-reported effect on acne from 2147 patients who were utilizing a hormonal contraceptive at the time of their initial consultation for acne.
METHODS: At the time of initial consultation for acne, each of 2147 consecutive patients using hormonal contraception provided her assessment of how her contraceptive had affected her acne. The Kruskal-Wallis test and logistic regression analysis were used to compare patient-reported outcomes by contraceptive type.
RESULTS: Depot injections, subdermal implants, and hormonal intrauterine devices worsened acne on average, and were inferior to the vaginal ring and combined oral contraceptives (COCs; P ≤ .001 for all pairwise comparisons), which improved acne on average. Within COC categories, a hierarchy emerged based on the progestin component, where drospirenone (most helpful) > norgestimate and desogestrel > levonorgestrel and norethindrone (P ≤ .035 for all pairwise comparisons). The presence of triphasic progestin dosage in COCs had a positive effect (P = .005), while variation in estrogen dose did not have a significant effect (P = .880).
CONCLUSIONS: Different hormonal contraceptives have significantly varied effects on acne, including among types of COC.

J Drugs Dermatol. 2016;15(6):670-674.

Concepts: Birth control, Emergency contraception, Hormonal contraception, Combined oral contraceptive pill, Progestin, Menstrual cycle, Implanon, Ormeloxifene

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Emergency contraception is a safe and effective method to prevent an unwanted pregnancy after an unprotected or inadequately protected sexual intercourse. Several methods for emergency contraception (EC) are currently registered in many countries for use in an emergency to prevent a pregnancy following an unprotected, possibly fertile intercourse or after a contraceptive accident like condom rupture. Different methods have varying modes of action, time frame of efficacy, dosage schedule and unwanted effects. Since several methods are available it is important to decide the best method.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Birth control, Emergency contraception, Sexual intercourse, Effectiveness, English-language films, Abortion, Condom