Discordance between self-reported contraceptive use and detection of exogenous hormones among Malawian women enrolling in a randomized clinical trial

Contraception. 2018 Apr;97(4):354-356. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2017.12.007. Epub 2017 Dec 13.


Objective: The objective was to assess the extent of concordance between self-reported contraceptive use and the presence of contraceptive progestins in serum.

Study design: We evaluated self-reported contraceptive use by using radioimmunoassay to examine baseline serum levels of medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) and levonorgestrel (LNG) among 97 Malawian women enrolling in a contraceptive trial.

Results: Twelve percent (12/97) of study participants who reported no hormonal contraceptive use in the previous 6months had either MPA or LNG detected in their serum.

Conclusions: The observed discordance between self-report and detection of exogenous hormones in serum indicates that caution is warranted when drawing conclusions based on self-reported contraceptive use.

Keywords: Contraceptive use; Discordance; Levonorgestrel (LNG); Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA); Misreporting.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Contraception Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Levonorgestrel / blood*
  • Malawi
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / blood*
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Self Report*
  • Truth Disclosure


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female
  • Levonorgestrel
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate