Progestin-only contraceptive pill use among women in the United States

Contraception. 2012 Dec;86(6):653-8. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2012.05.003. Epub 2012 Jun 6.


Background: Progestin-only contraceptive pills (POPs) offer a safe and effective contraceptive option, particularly for women at increased risk of venous thromboembolism. However, the prevalence of POP use among women in the United States is unknown.

Study design: We analyzed population-based data from 12,279 women aged 15-44 years in the National Survey of Family Growth. Data were collected continuously from 2006 to 2010 by in-person, computerized household interviews. Analyses describe POP use across sociodemographic and reproductive characteristics and thromboembolic risk profiles.

Results: Overall, 0.4% of all reproductive-aged women in the United States currently use POPs. POP use was higher among parous, postpartum and breastfeeding women than their counterparts (all p values<.001). Women at higher risk of thromboembolism (older, obese, diabetic or smoking women) had similar proportions of POP use as women without those risks.

Conclusion: POPs are rarely used by US women. While data on chronic disease were limited, our results suggest that relatively few women with increased risk of thromboembolism are considering POPs when choosing an oral contraceptive.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding
  • Contraception Behavior*
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / administration & dosage*
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / adverse effects
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Synthetic / administration & dosage
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Synthetic / adverse effects
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Norethindrone / administration & dosage
  • Norethindrone / adverse effects
  • Parity
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Progesterone Congeners / administration & dosage*
  • Progesterone Congeners / adverse effects
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Venous Thromboembolism / epidemiology
  • Venous Thromboembolism / prevention & control
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Synthetic
  • Progesterone Congeners
  • Norethindrone