Background: The review was conducted to examine studies that assess whether the number of pill packs dispensed, or prescribed, affects method continuation and other measures of use.
Study design: PubMed database was searched from inception through March 2012 for all peer-reviewed articles, in any language, that examined the effect of the number of oral contraceptive pill packs dispensed on method continuation, and other measures of use. The quality of each study was assessed using the United States Preventive Services Task Force grading system.
Results: Four studies met the inclusion criteria for this review. Studies that compared 1 vs. 12, 1 vs. 12-13, or 3 vs. 7 packs found increased method continuation. However, one study that examined the difference between providing one and then three packs versus providing four packs all at once did not find a difference in continuation. In addition to continuation, evidence from the individual studies included found that a greater number of pill packs was associated with fewer pregnancy tests, fewer pregnancies and less cost per client. A greater number of pill packs was, however, also associated with increased pill wastage.
Conclusions: A small body of evidence suggests that dispensing a greater number of oral contraceptive pill packs may increase continuation of use.
Published by Elsevier Inc.