Feasibility study of the use of a daily electronic mail reminder to improve oral contraceptive compliance

Contraception. 2003 Nov;68(5):365-71. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2003.08.013.


Women who ingest their oral contraceptive pill (OCP) as part of a daily routine are more likely use their OCPs correctly. This trial examines the feasibility of an electronic-mail (e-mail) reminder system to improve OCP compliance. An e-mail reminder was sent to 50 new OCP users daily for 3 months. Subjects sent an e-mail reply to confirm receipt. OCP compliance was recorded on diaries. Four subjects were discontinued for not checking their e-mail. Active participants missed a median of 18% of the e-mail reminders (range: 0-65%). A follow-up visit was scheduled after completion of three OCP cycles. Of the 40 subjects returning completed diaries, 50% missed no active pills at all and 20% missed at least one in each cycle. Most found the daily e-mail somewhat (65%) or very helpful (19%) for OCP compliance. Of those continuing OCPs, 64% wanted to continue receiving e-mail reminders at the completion of the study. Because inconsistent OCP use is a significant cause of unplanned conception, the use of e-mail to improve OCP compliance has the potential to decrease unintended pregnancies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contraceptives, Oral / administration & dosage*
  • Electronic Mail*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Pennsylvania
  • Reminder Systems*


  • Contraceptives, Oral