Globally, there is a need for more family planning method options as currently, available options do not adequately meet the needs of women, specifically those who have infrequent sex. Levonorgestrel (LNG) 1.5 mg is widely available as emergency contraception pills (ECP), and recent research has shown that certain women take it as their main form of contraception. Furthermore, limited studies have found repeat, on-demand use safe and efficacious.
This 12-month prospective, single-arm, interventional study in Ghana tested whether a single LNG 1.5 mg on-demand or pericoital (“around the time of sex”) dose contraceptive was acceptable to women who have infrequent sex and if pharmacy provision was feasible. The study sample (1,890) comprised women of reproductive age recruited from urban areas, having infrequent sex (i.e., coital frequency ≤ 6× per month), and not using any other modern methods except condoms or ECP at the time of study inclusion.
Results indicated that there is demand and acceptability for a pericoital pill and that pharmacy provision is feasible. Furthermore, precoital use of the pill had high levels of satisfaction and was popular with new users. Adding LNG 1.5 mg for pericoital use to the family planning method mix has the potential to address an important segment of the population currently underserved, decrease unwanted pregnancies, and increase modern contraceptive prevalence rates.