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Health literacy

Information sheet helps educate isotretinoin users about effective contraception

Researchers evaluated the impact of an information sheet on contraceptive knowledge in women taking the acne drug isotretinoin

Source: BSIP SA / Alamy

Women using the acne drug isotretinoin, which is a known teratogen, are advised to use two forms of contraception

The acne medication isotretinoin is a known teratogen and it is recommended that women taking the drug use two forms of contraception. Nevertheless, isotretinoin-exposed pregnancies still occur, largely in women using contraceptives with high failure rates.

To educate women about different contraception methods, US researchers developed a one-page information sheet covering eight popular approaches to birth control. They then evaluated the tool through a survey of 100 women aged 18–45 years visiting a dermatology practice.

The women’s contraceptive knowledge – including their awareness of different methods and assessment of each method’s effectiveness – increased significantly after they had viewed the information sheet. The researchers conclude in JAMA Dermatology (online, 4 February 2015)[1] that the sheet “may be a useful addition to efforts to prevent isotretinoin-induced birth defects”. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20067828

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