Hormonal contraceptives are the most common method used worldwide by teenagers to prevent unwanted pregnancies. To date there are limited data about such use by teenagers in the UK. The researchers investigated trends and patterns of hormonal contraceptive prescribing to adolescents aged 12–18 years in UK primary care between 2002 and 2011.

The present study was a retrospective cohort study conducted using the IMS Disease Analyzer database was performed. Annual prevalence of contraceptive drug prescribing was calculated, and indications for prescribing, and types of a contraceptive drug specified, were examined.

13.7% of female adolescents received prescriptions for hormonal contraceptives in 2011, compared to 19.0% in 2002. The majority of female adolescents received a contraceptive drug for ‘contraceptive management’. The COC, ‘progestogen+estrogen’, was the most commonly prescribed. Only one injectable progestogen, long-acting depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, was prescribed.

The study concluded that the use of hormonal contraceptives among adolescents increased between 2002 and 2011, and COC usage was dominant. The increasing use of hormonal contraceptives in adolescents, especially in younger adolescents, warrants further investigation, including research into these medicines’ long-term safety in this age group.

Reference: https://srh.bmj.com/content/41/3/216