Extended-use oral contraceptives and medically induced amenorrhea: attitudes, knowledge and prescribing habits of physicians

Contraception. 2011 Oct;84(4):384-9. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2011.02.004. Epub 2011 Mar 23.


Background: The study was conducted to determine whether geographic location, primary specialty, attitudes and knowledge influence the prescribing habits of physicians regarding extended-use oral contraceptives (OC) and medically induced amenorrhea.

Study design: Practice characteristics, contraceptive prescription habits, menstrual cycle physiology knowledge and attitudes about medically induced amenorrhea of Oregon obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) and family medicine physicians were assessed using either a cross-sectional postal or electronic mail survey. Attitudes were assessed using a series of Likert-style questions; multiple-choice responses were used to evaluate knowledge and prescribing habits.

Results: Of the 713 physicians in the sample (email 575, paper 138), 233 returned the survey, for an overall response rate of 32.7%. Over 90% (211/233) of respondents prescribed OCs; of these, 73.9% (155/211) stated that they prescribed extended-use OCs either often (23.5%) or sometimes (50.5%). Without adjusting for other factors, physicians reporting an OBGYN specialty (odds ratio [OR] 8.02, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.40-18.91) or an urban practice location (OR 2.75, 95% CI: 1.42-5.30) were more likely to report prescribing extended-use OCs. However, after adjusting for other factors, attitude was the only factor which remained significantly associated with prescribing (OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.41-2.42).

Conclusion: Physicians' attitudes regarding medically induced amenorrhea influence the use of extended-cycle OC more than any other characteristic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amenorrhea / chemically induced*
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined / administration & dosage*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Gynecology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Menstrual Cycle
  • Middle Aged
  • Obstetrics
  • Oregon
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined