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Minerva Pediatrica 2010 April;62(2):153-60


language: English

Emergency contraception: what do pediatricians know about this subject?

Fernandes Barry R., Sylvia De Souza Vitalle M., Calanca Da Silva F.

Center of Medical Attention and, Support to Adolescents from the Discipline of Pediatric Specialties, Department of Pediatrics Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo School of Medicine, San Paolo, Brazil


AIM: Emergency contraception (EC) is a safe and effective method to prevent undesired pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse. The objective of the present study is to evaluate the level of knowledge about EC of the pediatricians working for the city of São Paulo and Pediatrics residents at the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp), as well as attitudes towards prescription.
METHODS: A questionnaire with topics about residency in pediatrics, type of practice setting, knowledge about and attitudes towards EC, was applied to physicians. Statistical analysis was performed using c2 and/or Fisher’s exact test and, Cochran’s G test.
RESULTS: Fourteen percent of the respondents had been asked to prescribe EC; 47% of those had done so. The main reason for requesting a prescription was condom rupture (47.3%). On routine visits, 30.6% of the respondents claimed to advise on EC: 61.1% knew that EC must be prescribed up to 72 hours after unprotected sexual intercourse, 51.1% said they were uncomfortable about prescribing EC and 64% said they did not prescribe EC because they had no experience with it. The longer the time elapsed since graduation, the smaller the knowledge about EC and the smaller the opportunity to have learned about that subject, in addition to the higher percentage of wrong prescriptions or non-prescription.
CONCLUSION: Though safe, simple to administer and effective, EC is still little known and prescribed by pediatricians, especially those graduated a longer time ago. Lack of experience is the main reason for the low prescription rates.

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