A randomized study evaluating the effect of evidence-based information on clinician attitudes about moving oral contraceptives over the counter
Wollum A, Zuniga C, Lezama N, Grossman D, Grindlay K. A randomized study evaluating the effect of evidence-based information on clinician attitudes about moving oral contraceptives over the counter. Journal of Women's Health. December 2020. https://doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2020.8706
Objective: To assess whether evidence-based information on progestin-only pills (POPs) and over-the-counter (OTC) oral contraceptives (OCs) increases support among clinicians for bringing a POP or combined oral contraceptive (COC) OTC and to identify concerns clinicians may have about OTC access to OCs.
Materials and Methods: In 2018 a survey of 778 clinicians assessed support for bringing a POP and COC OTC before and after receiving evidence-based information, which was pretested through in-depth interviews. Clinicians were randomized into two groups, stratified by clinician type. One group received information about OTC access to OCs generally, and the second group received OTC information plus information about POPs. Levels of support between arms were compared using robust Poisson models.
Results: Before receiving information, 31% of clinicians supported moving a POP OTC. After receiving information, 39% of clinicians who only received OTC information supported moving a POP OTC compared to 61% who received OTC and POP information (relative risk = 1.53, 95% confidence interval: 1.34 to 1.75). Support for bringing a COC OTC increased marginally for those who received OTC and POP information, while support among those who received only OTC information increased by 12 percentage points (to 50%). Among clinicians opposed to moving a POP OTC after receiving information, top concerns included safety (26%), effectiveness (19%), potential for incorrect use (19%), and loss of preventive screenings (15%).
Conclusion: Evidence-based information, particularly around POPs, has the potential to change clinician attitudes and address misconceptions about POPs and OTC access.