Promoting safe use of isotretinoin by increasing contraceptive knowledge

Carly A. Werner, Melissa J. Papic, Laura K. Ferris, Eleanor Schwarz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


IMPORTANCE: Isotretinoin, a known teratogen, is strictly regulated through the iPLEDGE program. However, isotretinoin-exposed pregnancies continue to occur. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate an information sheet's effect on women's contraceptive knowledge. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Women aged 18 to 45 years visiting a dermatology practice completed anonymous surveys assessing their knowledge of the typical effectiveness of 8 contraceptivemethods before and after reviewing an educational information sheet. Participants categorized each contraceptive as "most effective, >99% effective," "medium effective, 92%-97%effective," or "least effective, <89% effective" or indicated that they had "never heard of" it. All participants were recruited from a single dermatology clinic between April and May 2014. A total of 118 women were approached by consecutive sampling, and surveys were completed by 100 women. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Preintervention contraceptive effectiveness knowledge and change in contraceptive effectiveness knowledge after viewing the educational tool. RESULTS: Prior to viewing the contraceptive information sheet, more than half of women overestimated the typical effectiveness of condoms (75%), contraceptive injections (57%), and oral contraceptives (51%). Thirty-four percent had never heard of contraceptive implants, whereas 16%had never heard of an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD). Participants correctly identified the typical effectiveness of only a mean (SD) of 3.8 (1.9) of the 8 contraceptives that they were asked about. Only 3%of participating women were able to correctly identify the typical effectiveness of all available contraceptives. On average, women spent less than 1 minute reviewing the contraceptive information sheet (mean [SD], 31 [27] seconds). After viewing the educational handout, the proportions of participants able to correctly identify the typical effectiveness of contraceptives increased for almost all methods (subdermal implant, 45%to 78%[P <.001]; IUD, 61% to 83%[P <.001]; injection, 28%to 44%[P =.02]; ring, 60%to 69% [P =.18]; patch, 50% to 71%[P =.002]; pills, 41%to 65% [P <.001]; condoms, 25%to 45%[P =.003]; withdrawal, 74%to 90% [P =.003]). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: A contraceptive information sheet can significantly improve patients' contraceptive knowledge and may be a useful addition to efforts to prevent isotretinoin-induced birth defects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-393
Number of pages5
JournalJAMA Dermatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


Dive into the research topics of 'Promoting safe use of isotretinoin by increasing contraceptive knowledge'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this