Neville H. Golden M.D.

Publication Details

  • Emergency contraception: Pediatricians' knowledge, attitudes, and opinions PEDIATRICS Golden, N. H., Seigel, W. M., Fisher, M., Schneider, M., Quijano, E., Suss, A., Bergeson, R., Seitz, M., Saunders, D. 2001; 107 (2): 287-292


    Emergency contraception (EC) is the use of a method of contraception after unprotected intercourse to prevent unintended pregnancy. Although first described over 20 years ago, physician awareness of EC has been limited and many feel uncomfortable prescribing it.To assess the knowledge, attitudes, and opinions of practicing pediatricians regarding the use of EC in adolescents.An anonymous questionnaire was mailed to all 954 active members of New York Chapter 2, District II of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The questionnaire assessed basic knowledge, attitudes, and opinions regarding EC in adolescents. Data were analyzed by physician age, gender, year completed residency, and practice type.Two hundred thirty-three practicing pediatricians (24.4%) completed the survey. Of the respondents, 23.7% had been asked to prescribe EC to an adolescent and 49% of these cases involved a rape victim. Only 16.7% of pediatricians routinely counsel adolescent patients about the availability of EC, with female pediatricians more likely to do so. Most respondents (72.9%) were unable to identify any of the Food and Drug Administration-approved methods of EC. Only 27.9% correctly identified the timing for its initiation and only 31.6% of respondents felt comfortable prescribing EC. Inexperience with use was cited as the primary reason for not prescribing EC by 70% of respondents. Twelve percent cited moral or religious reasons and 17% were concerned about teratogenic effects. There were no differences in comfort level based on age, gender, or practice type. Twenty-two percent of respondents believed that providing EC encourages adolescent risk-taking behavior and 52.4% would restrict the number of times they would dispense EC to an individual patient. A minority of respondents (17%) believed that adolescents should have EC available at home to use if necessary and only 19.6% believed that EC should be available without a prescription. The vast majority (87.5%) were interested in learning more about EC.Despite the safety and efficacy of EC, the low rate of use is of concern. Pediatricians are being confronted with the decision to prescribe EC but do not feel comfortable prescribing it because of inadequate training in its use. Practicing pediatricians are aware of their lack of experience and are interested in improving their knowledge base.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000166714000026

    View details for PubMedID 11158460

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