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There are 61 million women of childbearing age (15–44) in the US. About 43 million of these women are at risk of unintended pregnancy; they are sexually active and do not want to become pregnant. About two-thirds of them use a contraceptive method correctly and consistently. Oral contraceptives have been in use for over 50 years and are one of the most popular contraceptives; this method is used by 26% of contraceptive users. Most oral contraceptives contain 2 hormones, an estrogen and a progestin (combined oral contraceptives; COCs). Progestin only pills (POPs) are also available. Certain other hormonal methods (vaginal ring, transdermal patch, injectables) are used by additional 7% of women.1 In the US, an increasing number of states allow pharmacists to provide contraceptives to women without a prescription; this will be the focus of this issue.
About 14% of women at risk of unintended pregnancy are not using contraception (or have long gaps of non-use) and another 18% use contraception but do so inconsistently. Among women using a contraceptive consistently, only 5% experience an unintended pregnancy. In contrast, about 85% of sexually active women who do not use contraception become pregnant within 1 year.
Healthy People 2020, a 2010 report from the US Department of Health and Human Services, provides science-based 10-year objectives for improving the health of all Americans.2 Family planning objectives include:
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Programs developed by The Rx Consultant are written by health care providers with expertise in the topic area, peer-reviewed, extensively edited, and fact-checked. This development process was created to insure that every program presents information that is current, accurate, relevant to "real world" health care providers, and written in an easy reading, "plain English" style.
The Rx Consultant is a publication of Continuing Education Network, Inc.
ACPE Universal Activity Number: 0428-0000-17-001-H01-P
Chief Editor and CE Administrator
Terry M. Baker, PharmD
Tracy Farnen, PharmD
James Chan, PharmD, PhD
Pharmacy Quality and Outcomes Coordinator
Associate Clinical Professor
Richard Ron Finley, B.S. Pharm.,R.Ph.
Consult Pharmacist Aging and Adult Health Services
Julio R. Lopez, PharmD, FCSHP
Adjunct Clinical Professor
Assistant Clinical Professor
Visiting Associate Professor and Lecturer
Pamela Mausner, MD
Helen Berlie, Pharm.D. CDE, BCACP
Ambulatory Care Specialist - Diabetes
Senior Editorial Advisor
Gerard Hatheway, PharmD, PhD
Belinda M. Danielson, RPh
Christopher M. DeSoto, PharmD
Angie S. Graham, PharmD
Cynthia Chan Huang, PharmD, MBA
Fred Plageman, PharmD
Editorial Advisor and Clinical Practice Consultant for Nurse Practitioners
Meuleman, RN, C, MS
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