Health & Medicine - Posted by Emily Walker-Monash on Monday, July 16, 2012 14:27 - 0 Comments
Doctors unfamiliar with some birth control options
MONASH (AUS) — General practitioners lack the knowledge and ability to adequately provide long-term contraceptive care to their female patients, according to new research.
Researchers led by Monash University Professor Danielle Mazza find that GPs lack familiarity with long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), such as contraceptive implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs), and that their unfamiliarity made it difficult for women to access this type of effective contraception.
Straight from the Source
The study, published today in the Medical Journal of Australia, looks at 3,910 Australian general practicioners (GPs) from Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) data to determine current contraceptive management offered by general practitioners. The researchers also analyzed consultations with female patients aged 12–54 years.
The study finds that only 1.2 percent of women in Australia used long-acting contraception despite the fact that LARC was an effective long-term contraceptive method requiring minimal maintenance once administered.
Mazza says GPs might be unfamiliar with inserting and removing IUDs and implants due to a lack of technical training and increased medical indemnity insurance costs.
“A shift towards prescribing long-acting reversible contraception, as recommended in clinical guidelines, is yet to occur in Australian general practice,” says Mazza, head of the department of general practice.
“A better understanding of patient and GP perspectives on contraceptive choices could lead to more effective contraceptive use.”
LARC was discussed, prescribed, or managed in approximately 15 of 100 contraception consultations managed in Australian general practice. The oral contraceptive pill, the most frequently prescribed contraception, was discussed in around 69 percent of the consultations with women about contraceptives.
The study finds some women consulted GPs less often about contraception, including Indigenous women, those who spoke a language other than English at home, and those who had a Commonwealth Health Care Card.
Mazza says that while women aged 18–24 years were more likely to see their GP about emergency contraception, overall rates of management of emergency contraception in general practice were low.
“Most Australian women remain unaware of the over-the-counter availability of emergency contraception, have misconceptions about it, and want more information from their general practitioners,” says Mazza.
More news from Monash University: www.monash.edu.au/news/