Contraceptive choice affects consistency of use-temporarily

March 1, 2010

Those who used contraceptive vaginal ring users during a 3-month period tended to report perfect use more often than oral contraceptive users, according to study findings published in March 2010 Obstetrics & Gynecology.

A 3-month study of contraceptive use among female college and graduate students found that those who used the contraceptive vaginal ring tended to report perfect use more often than those who used oral contraceptives. However, at 6-month follow-up, less than 30% of those enrolled continued to use their assigned method of birth control.

A total of 273 women were given either the vaginal ring or oral contraceptive pill and instructed to use it over a period of 3 consecutive menstrual cycles. Enrollees filled out online diaries daily to record whether they used the method that day and their satisfaction with the method of birth control during the cycles in which it was used.

At 3-month follow-up, 43% of 121 contraceptive vaginal ring users and 52% of 126 oral contraceptive users indicated they would still use that method (P=.16). At 6 months, just 26% of 117 vaginal ring users and 29% of oral contraceptive users had actually continued to use the designated method of contraception. Approximately 50% of each group reported either using condoms or nothing at all.

The study was published in Obstetrics & Gynecology (2010;115[3]:503-510).