Young woman used pill 14 times in one-year period

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 November, 2004, 12:00am

One young woman took morning-after pills 14 times and another resorted to them on seven occasions during the one-year study.

All the women taking part had been given three courses. They were told that if they ran out before the study was completed, they should return to the Family Planning Association for counselling and more drugs.

But researchers found that the two women bought their extra supplies from other doctors, said the association's Sue Lo.

'The two young women obtained the additional courses from elsewhere, suggesting that it was not advance provision per se which encouraged repeated use.'

Dr Lo said that the association would strengthen its education of women before they were given an advanced supply of the pills when the pilot programme began next year.

'For advanced provision we really need to choose the patients, so that we have the time to counsel and see the patients,' Dr Lo added.

The Department of Health said the hormone content of morning-after pills was high and if they did not work they could lead to ectopic pregnancies, where a fertilised egg is lodged outside the womb.

'It is considered more appropriate to require a doctor's prescription in selling morning-after pills,' a spokesman said.

Since 2001, 31 countries including Britain have allowed the morning-after pill to be sold over the counter.