Clinical Edge

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Contraception Use and Substance Use Disorder Examined

Addiction; ePub 2017 May 22; Griffith, et al

Women with substance use disorders (SUDs) are less likely to use prescription contraceptives, especially long-acting methods, but are not significantly less likely to adhere to them once prescribed than women without substance use disorders, a recent study found. Researchers examined 3 dependent variables: (1) use of a reversible prescription contraceptive during 2012; (2) the contraceptive methods used; and (3) the proportion of days covered by a prescription contraceptive in the year following the first prescription contraceptive claim. Subjects included 47,902 women, aged 16 to 45 years, enrolled in Medicaid or Commonwealth Care in Massachusetts between 2010 and 2014. The primary predictor was diagnosed SUD, defined as at least 1 claim for an alcohol or drug use disorder. They found:

  • SUD was associated with lower rates of prescription contraceptive use during 2012 (19.2 vs 23.9%).
  • SUD was associated with decreased selection of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) compared with short-acting contraception (SARC) (42.8 vs 44.5%).
  • There was no significant association between SUD and adherence.


Griffith G, Kumaraswami T, Chrysanthopoulou SA, Mattocks KM, Clark RE. Prescription contraception use and adherence by women with substance use disorders. [Published online ahead of print May 22, 2017]. Addiction. doi:10.1111/add.13840.