Hormonal Contraception

Every day women receive hormonal contraception medication from pharmacies and clinics and I am not convinced that they all receive appropriate counseling.  One particular college student recommended to me that I address this issue because there are way too many students on campus that have questions about birth control and don't know where to go to get answers.  She stated that they ask each other questions and more often than not come away misinformed. As a pharmacist, it is my responsibility to provide effective patient education and counseling in all situations involving medication treatment.

Patient education and counseling needs to take place in an environment that is conducive to patient involvement and acceptance and one that supports the pharmacists' efforts to establish an honest relationship with the patient.  The pharmacist needs to have the time to assess whether they feel the patient truly understands how they are going to use the medication, and specifically why they are going to take their prescription.  Finally, the patient needs to feel comfortable enough with their pharmacist to ask questions….I mean, really open up and ask specifically what they need to know, without the threat of feeling embarrassed.   I am bringing this up because, as you can see, there are many barriers to effective pharmacist patient consultation.

When a patient picks up a prescription for an antibiotic, pain, high blood pressure, or diabetic medication, the barriers between the patient and pharmacist can be surpassed rather quickly.  However, when a 19 year old girl goes to the pharmacy for a birth control prescription, there are quite a few barriers that need to be overcome to achieve any sort of effective counseling.  First off, the young woman needs to feel that she can actually approach a pharmacy counter and ask to speak with the pharmacist.  She needs to feel she can trust the pharmacist without being judged and she definitely needs to have some sort of reasonably private area to talk so as not to be overheard by the rest of the store.  Lots of issues! 

This is a cultural issue that I work on daily in the pharmacy where I practice.   It is important for us all to be aware that this is a really big issue, and that it regularly goes unaddressed.   I always encourage patients to find a pharmacist they feel comfortable with and develop a counseling relationship with that pharmacist. 

Hormonal contraception is available and used daily.  My goal here is to help educate consumers. After listening to one of the specific counseling sessions you will have a good idea of what you do know about your medication, and a clear understanding of what questions you need to take back to your own health care provider. 

Each hormonal contraceptive specific Medication Counseling Session will discuss the important treatment information regarding that particular medication. This will include how the medication works,  how to use it, what to expect, potential risks, side effects, adverse reactions and interactions, and what do do if you miss a dose.

Please visit the Medication Counseling page of www.AudibleRx.com.  Once there, listen to the two free recordings first:

            #1 First Session, What to Expect.

            #2 What is a Black Box Warning?

After listenting to the above two recordings, navigate to the medication you want to learn more about at the Contraception page.

            1.  Combination pill pack, Progestin/Estrogen, 28 day pack

            2.  Extended Cycle pill pack, Progestin/Estrogen 91 day

            3.  Progestin only 28 day pill pack

            4.  Patch, Progestin/Estrogen

            5.  Vaginal Ring, Progestin/Estrogen

            6.  Injection, medroxyprogesterone,

            7.  Emergency Contraception

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