Use of prescribed contraception in Northern Ireland 2010-2016

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the use of prescribed contraceptives in Northern Ireland (NI) and how this varies with a woman’s age, the deprivation in the area in which she lives and characteristics of her general practice (GP). 

Method: A population-based cohort study was conducted including 560,074 females, aged 12–49 registered with a GP (2010–2016) contributing 3,255,500 woman-years of follow-up. Dispensed contraceptive prescriptions were linked to demographic details. 

Results: A contraceptive prescription was dispensed in 26.2% of woman-years with women aged 20–24 most likely to have a contraceptive dispensed (45.7% of woman-years). After adjusting for patient and other practice characteristics, practices in the least deprived quintile prescribed 6% more contraception than those in the most deprived quintile. The combined oral contraceptives (16.6% of woman-years) and progesterone only pill (8.0% of woman-years) were the most commonly dispensed methods. Patient and practice level characteristics were found to be related to the specific contraceptive methods dispensed which also changed during the time frame of the study. 

Conclusions: This is the first population-based assessment of contraceptive prescription in NI. It is useful for health service planning and to inform broader reproductive policy debates. The impact of practice area-based deprivation, above that of the woman’s residence, on contraceptive dispensing is a new finding that deserves more exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-113
Number of pages8
JournalThe European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care
Volume25
Issue number2
Early online date18 Feb 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Feb 2020

Keywords

  • Contraception
  • medication utilisation
  • prescription database
  • administrative data
  • data linkage
  • population-based cohort

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