User characteristics and out-of-pocket expenditures for progestin-only versus combined oral contraceptives

Contraception. 2012 Dec;86(6):666-72. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2012.05.018. Epub 2012 Jul 6.


Background: Little is known about the proportion of oral contraceptive pill (OCP) users that use progestin-only pills (POPs), factors associated with POP use, and whether out-of-pocket expenditures and dispensing patterns are similar to combined oral contraceptives (COCs).

Study design: Observational cohort using 1996-2008 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys.

Results: Among all OCP users, 4% used POPs and changed little between 1996 and 2008. Women were more likely to use POPs if they received postpartum care (p<.001), had a diagnosis of hypertension (p<.001) or resided in the West (p<.01). POP users, compared to COC users, were more likely to pay $15 and more (p<.01) and less likely to obtain more than one pack per purchase (p<.001), controlling for age, race/ethnicity and insurance coverage.

Conclusion: POP use is very low in the United States. POP users obtained fewer packs per purchase compared with COC users, suggesting that POP may be used as transitional OCPs, particularly during the postpartum period.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Contraception Behavior* / trends
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined / administration & dosage*
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined / economics
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / administration & dosage*
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / economics
  • Drug Prescriptions / economics
  • Estradiol Congeners / administration & dosage*
  • Estradiol Congeners / economics
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Insurance, Pharmaceutical Services
  • Middle Aged
  • Postpartum Period
  • Prescription Fees*
  • Progesterone Congeners / administration & dosage*
  • Progesterone Congeners / economics
  • Spatio-Temporal Analysis
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal
  • Estradiol Congeners
  • Progesterone Congeners