November 2022

Interest in continued use after participation in a study of over-the-counter progestin-only pills in the United States

Grindlay K, Key K, Zuniga C, Wollum A, Blanchard K, Grossman D. Women's Health Reports. Nov 2022. DOI: 10.1089/whr.2022.0056

To assess interest in continued use of over-the-counter progestin-only pills among individuals who used them in a trial.

From January 2020 to September 2021, we conducted a cross-sectional online survey with individuals who completed participation in a trial evaluating over-the-counter use of norgestrel 0.075 mg tablets in the United States. We calculated descriptive statistics, Pearson's chi-square and Fisher's exact tests, and logistic regression models to assess likelihood of future over-the-counter progestin-only pill use, reasons for interest/noninterest, situations for over-the-counter progestin-only pill use, willingness to pay for an over-the-counter progestin-only pill, likelihood of future preventive health screenings, prior difficulties getting prescription contraception, and background characteristics.

Among 550 adult and 115 adolescent participants (75% response rate), 83% reported likelihood of future over-the-counter progestin-only pill use. Hispanic/Latinx and Black participants and adults with public insurance, prior pregnancies, and some college reported higher likelihood of future use compared with their counterparts. Among likely users, 90% were interested in long-term use and 79 % ≥ 25 years of age reported they would get future preventive screenings; participants would pay up to $20/month on average. Primary reasons for interest included convenience (81%), ease of access (80%), and saving time (77%) and money (64%). The primary reason for noninterest was bleeding associated with progestin-only pill use (52%).

There was high interest in continuing to use over-the-counter progestin-only pills among individuals who had used them in a study. These findings highlight the real-world acceptability of taking a progestin-only pill without a prescription, and contribute to evidence supporting over-the-counter access.