Patient understanding and use of oral contraceptive pills in a southern public health family planning clinic

Terry C. Davis, Doren D. Fredrickson, Linda Potter, Rose Brouillette, Anna C. Bocchini, Mark V. Williams, Ruth M. Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To assess patient understanding and use of oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) and determine if these are associated with literacy. METHODS: Four hundred OCP users from a southern public health family planning clinic were orally tested post visit for literacy, demographics, contraceptive knowledge, OCP use, side effects, and adherence. RESULTS: Patients were predominately African American (86%); 78% had completed high school and 42% read below a 9th grade level. Most (94%) understood what to do when they missed one pill, yet few knew the correct action to take after missing two or three pills (19% and 3% respectively); 33% reported missing one or more pills in the past 2 weeks. Literacy was not associated with OCP use, knowledge, or adherence. CONCLUSION: Patients of all literacy levels had limited understanding of OCP side effects and what to do about multiple missed pills. This puts them at risk for misuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-718
Number of pages6
JournalSouthern medical journal
Volume99
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2006

Keywords

  • Health literacy
  • Literacy
  • Missed pills
  • Oral contraceptive use
  • Side effects

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