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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2015 February;67(1):33-45

language: English

Adolescent contraception: review and guidance for pediatric clinicians

Potter J. 1, Santelli J. S. 2

1 Department of Pediatrics, Division of Child and Adolescent Health, New York‑Presbyterian, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, NY, USA;
2 Department of Population and Family Health, Professor of Pediatrics, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, NY, USA


The majority of adolescents initiate sexual activity during their teenage years, making contraception an important aspect of routine adolescent health care. Despite common misperceptions, all available methods of reversible contraception are appropriate for adolescent use. Contraceptive side effects profiles and barriers to use of certain methods should be considered when providing contraceptives to adolescents. In particular, ease of use, confidentiality, and menstrual effects are main concerns of adolescents. Contraceptive counseling with adolescents should describe method efficacy, discuss user preferences, explore barriers to use, counsel regarding sexually transmitted infection prevention, and consider what to do if contraception fails. Emergency contraception should be widely discussed with adolescents, as it is appropriate for use during gaps in other contraceptive use, method failure, and adolescents who are not using another form of contraception. Dual method use (condom plus a highly effective method of contraception) is the gold standard for prevention of both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

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