PHILADELPHIA, March 9 (UPI) -- Many doctors don't offer emergency contraception pills to adolescents during emergency department visits because of misinformation, U.S. researchers said.
A study by researchers at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia said that improved physician education may increase prescription rates and reduce unintended pregnancy.
Researchers surveyed 291 members of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section of Emergency Medicine and found while 85 percent had prescribed emergency contraception pills, more than 80 percent of those doctors had done so fewer than five times in a year. Physicians who were able to correctly answer questions about emergency contraception pills were more likely to prescribe them, the study said.
Forty-three percent of physicians incorrectly answered half of the questions in the Internet-based survey.
The study, published in Pediatrics, found the five biggest concerns cited by the doctors participating in the Internet-based survey were lack of patient follow-up after receiving the first dose; time constraints during the hospital visit to properly discuss emergency contraception pills use; lack of clinical resources; a belief emergency contraception pills discourages regular contraceptive use and concerns about birth defects.
Almost 20 percent of the doctors surveyed incorrectly answered that emergency contraception pills had to be administered within 24 hours of unprotected sex, when in fact the drug is effective for up to five days, the study said.