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Effect of "observed start" vs. traditional "Sunday start" on hormonal contraceptive continuation rates after medical abortion.


This study was conducted to determine whether early initiation of combined hormonal contraception under direct clinical observation following successful medical abortion increases continuation rates with the method compared to traditional "Sunday start."

Women enrolled in a multicenter medical abortion trial with mifepristone and misoprostol who requested combined hormonal contraception (pill, ring or patch) following medical abortion were recruited. Women were randomized to initiate the method under supervision either at the 1-week medical abortion follow-up visit ("observed start") or at the first Sunday following this visit ("Sunday start"). Primary outcome was continuation of the chosen method at 6 weeks.

Of the 1128 women in the primary trial, 261 subjects enrolled in this substudy and 36/261 (13.8%) were lost to follow-up. There was no significant difference in method continuation at 6 weeks [observed start 108/114 (94.7%), Sunday start 101/111 (91.0%, p=.27].

Short-term continuation rates among those choosing hormonal contraception following medical abortion are high and are not significantly improved by initiating the method at the time of the first follow-up visit.

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