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Contraceptive Switching & Discontinuation

Am J Obstet Gynecol; ePub 2018 Dec 18; Simmons, et al

Among women who had access to no-cost contraception for 3 years, early contraceptive method switching and discontinuation were frequent outcomes of contraceptive use. The study examined attributes associated with early contraceptive method switching or discontinuation (<6 months of initiation) among participants enrolled in the intervention cohorts of the HER Salt Lake Contraceptive Initiative. Methods available included: non-hormonal behavioral methods, short-acting methods, and long-active methods. Participants completed surveys at baseline, 1-, 3-, and 6-months. Researchers found:

  • At 6 months, 2,583 (70.0%) women reported continuation of their baseline method, 367 (10%) reported at least 1 period of discontinuation, 459 (12.4%) reported switching to a different method, and 279 (7.6%) did not provide 6-month follow up.
  • Factors associated with discontinuation included selection of a short-acting method, report of Hispanic ethnicity, and non-white race, and having any future pregnancy plans.
  • Selecting a short-acting method at baseline was also associated with increased likelihood of method switching.
  • Women were less likely to switch if they were on their parents’ insurance.


Simmons RG, Sanders JN, Geist C, Gawron L, Myers K, Turok DK. Predictors of contraceptive switching and discontinuation within the first six months of use among HER Salt Lake study participants. [Published online ahead of print December 18, 2018]. Am J Obstet Gynecol. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2018.12.022.