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Over-the-counter access, changing WHO guidelines, and contraindicated oral contraceptive use in Mexico.
Studies in Family Planning. 2006 Sep; 37(3):197-204.This study examines the prevalence of contraindications to the use of oral contraceptives in Mexico by sociodemographic characteristics and by whether this family planning method was obtained with or without a doctor's prescription. Using data on smoking behavior and blood-pressure measurements from the 2000 Mexican National Health Survey, the authors found that, under the 1996 World Health Organization (WHO) medical eligibility guidelines, the prevalence of contraindications is low and that no significant differences in contraindications exist at any level between those who obtain oral contraceptives at clinics and those who obtain them at pharmacies. In 2000, however, WHO substantially revised its criteria regarding the level of hypertension that would constitute a contraindication for oral contraceptive use. Applying the new guidelines, the authors found that 10 percent of pill users younger than 35 and 33 percent aged 35 and older have health conditions that are either relative or absolute (Category 3 or 4) contraindications. The relevance of these findings to the larger debate concerning screening and over-the-counter access to oral contraceptives is discussed. (author's)
[The practice guideline 'Hormonal contraception' (second revision) from the Dutch College of General Practitioners; a response from the perspective of obstetrics and gynecology] De standaard 'Hormonale anticonceptie' (tweede herziening) van het Nederlands Huisartsen Genootschap; reactie vanuit de verloskunde-gynaecologie.
Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde. 2004 Jun 26; 148(26):1274-1275.The Dutch College of General Practitioners' (NHG) guideline on hormonal contraception does not follow the WHO criteria for the use of oral contraceptives in contrast to the guideline of the Dutch Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Contrary to the WHO criteria, the NHG guideline considers a blood-pressure measurement before starting with an oral contraceptive to be unnecessary. It also considers no form of migraine to be contraindication for oral contraceptives. The NHG guideline further disclaims the (slightly) increased risk of developing breast cancer in women using oral contraceptives. It advises initiation of oral-contraceptive use two weeks postpartum in non-breast-feeding women and six weeks postpartum in breastfeeding women, instead of the three weeks and six months, respectively, indicated in the WHO guideline. Lastly, the NHG guideline is too optimistic as to the reliability of oral-contraceptive use, as no distinction is made between efficacy and effectiveness. Such discrepancies between two Dutch guidelines can be detrimental to women's health care. The WHO criteria for contraceptive use may be a valuable tool to overcome differences of opinion to as to achieve a badly needed full consensus. (author's)