Background: Approximately 150 women annually become pregnant while taking isotretinoin despite participation in the iPLEDGE program. Noncompliance with the requirement to be abstinent or use 2 contraceptive methods may be a contributing factor.
Objective: We sought to determine the degree of adherence to contraception or abstinence among women taking isotretinoin.
Methods: We conducted an anonymous survey of women of childbearing potential taking isotretinoin for at least 2 months.
Results: Among 75 participants, 21 (28%) chose abstinence as their primary means of pregnancy prevention, of whom 4 (19%) were sexually active during treatment. The most commonly chosen contraceptive methods among the 39 women who were sexually active were condoms (35, 90%) and oral contraceptive pills (18, 46%). Twelve women (31%) admitted to having intercourse at least once using 1 or fewer forms of contraception; 10 failed to use condoms, and 1 reported completely unprotected intercourse. Among sexually active oral contraceptive pill users, 7 (39%) reported missing 1 or more pills in the previous month.
Limitations: Data were self-reported, thus participants may have inaccurately reported contraception use.
Conclusions: Encouraging the use of highly effective, patient-independent contraception and limiting abstinence to women who have never been sexually active may further reduce the rate of isotretinoin-exposed pregnancies.
Keywords: acne; condoms; contraception; iPLEDGE; intrauterine device; isotretinoin; oral contraceptive pills.
Copyright © 2013 American Academy of Dermatology, Inc. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.