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Despite FDA Rule, Teens May Struggle To Get Morning-After-Pill

(Reuters Health) – – It’s been virtually 5 years because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made emergency contraception out there and not using a prescription for all shoppers, however a brand new research suggests it will not be any simpler for some teenagers to purchase the drug at pharmacies.

Researchers had women posing as 17-year-old women in want of emergency contraception use an ordinary script to name 979 pharmacies in 5 U.S. cities. About 83 % of the pharmacies stated emergency contraception was obtainable, however drugstores gave right details about over-the-counter entry solely 52 % of the time, and eight % stated it wasn’t on the market beneath any circumstances.

These outcomes, from calls made in 2015, weren’t a lot totally different from responses researchers received utilizing the identical script in 2012 earlier than the FDA eradicated age restrictions on over-the-counter entry to emergency contraception.

“It is surprising that access hasn’t improved despite the change in regulations that were intended to improve access for adolescents in particular,” stated lead research writer Dr. Tracey Wilkinson, a pediatrics researcher at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

“Not having timely access to emergency contraception is a problem – not only because its efficacy decreases with time but because it is an important part of pregnancy prevention,” Wilkinson stated by e mail. “Without access, more unplanned pregnancies can result and for adolescents in particular the repercussions of unplanned pregnancy can be substantial and life-long.”

Emergency contraception, also called the morning-after capsule, can forestall being pregnant by stopping the ovary from releasing an egg, stopping sperm from fertilizing the egg or blocking the fertilized egg from implanting within the womb. It works greatest when taken inside 24 hours of unprotected intercourse or condom failure, though it will probably work for as much as 72 hours.

The FDA initially cleared over-the-counter emergency contraception entry for individuals 18 and older, partially due to considerations about whether or not youthful teen women would use the medicine correctly. Later, the FDA lowered the age for non-prescription entry to 17 earlier than finally extending entry to individuals of all ages in 2013.

Pharmacies usually tend to say emergency contraception isn’t out there underneath any circumstances in low-income neighborhoods than in additional prosperous communities, the researchers report in Pediatrics.

One limitation of the research is that researchers didn’t contact all the identical pharmacies within the two totally different research, in order that they couldn’t see whether or not particular person drugstores modified insurance policies over time because the regulation shifted. What occurs on the telephone additionally won’t mirror what would occur when teenagers walked into the pharmacy, the authors word.

Still, the outcomes recommend that not all pharmacists are clear on who ought to get the morning-after-pill, stated Abigail R.A. Aiken, a public coverage researcher on the University of Texas at Austin who wasn’t concerned within the research.

“It’s important for people to know the facts on emergency contraception access for themselves,” Aiken stated by e-mail. “Anyone who receives incorrect information or is denied emergency contraception by a pharmacy can request to talk with the pharmacist in charge if a member of staff gives incorrect information or to the store manager.”

It may additionally make sense for women to go to a pharmacy in individual as an alternative of calling to seek out out if they’ve emergency contraception, and to think about making an attempt one other drugstore if one place turns them away, Dr. Regina-Maria Renner, a researcher on the University of British Columbia in Vancouver who wasn’t concerned within the research, stated by e mail.

“Patients may encounter problems in accessing emergency contraception, but FDA policy is on their side,” stated Katy Kozhimannil, a researcher on the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis who wasn’t concerned within the research.

“It matters because preventing unintended pregnancy, especially for low-income teens, can influence a person’s life trajectory,” Kozhimannil stated by e mail.

SOURCE: bit.ly/1qyV1oi Pediatrics, on-line June 30, 2017.

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