To examine factors associated with discontinuation of the oral contraceptive pill (OCP), patch, and ring.
We included 1,452 female participants from the Contraceptive CHOICE Project who selected the OCP, patch, or ring and completed 12 months of follow-up for this analysis. We defined discontinuation as stopping the contraceptive method for longer than 1 month during a follow-up survey. Participants who stopped their method as a result of pregnancy or to attempt pregnancy or who were lost to follow-up were censored. We examined demographic, behavioral, and method-related factors in the Cox proportional hazard models.
Patch users had a higher 1-year discontinuation rate (58%) than OCP (47%; P=.03) and ring users (49%; P=.02). Women were more likely to discontinue the OCP, patch, or ring if they were black (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 1.21, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.02–1.44), no longer married (adjusted HR 1.83, 95% CI 1.27–2.65), or received public assistance (adjusted HR 1.30, 95% CI 1.08–1.57). Women who reported difficulty obtaining the method were more than twice as likely to discontinue (adjusted HR 2.43, 95% CI 1.81–3.27). Women who were certain they would continue despite side effects (adjusted HR 0.57, 95% CI 0.43–0.77) were less likely to discontinue.
Despite selecting their method and obtaining it at no cost, almost half of OCP and ring users and a majority of patch users discontinued their method by 12 months. Experiencing difficulty obtaining the method contributes to high rates of discontinuation.
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