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Emergency contraception. Has over the counter availability reduced attendances at emergency departments?
  1. M Kerins1,
  2. E Maguire2,
  3. D K Fahey3,
  4. E Glucksman1
  1. 1Department of Emergency Medicine, King’s College Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Bromley Hospital, Bromley, UK
  3. 3Public Health Department, Camden Primary Care Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M Kerins
 Department of Emergency Medicine, King’s College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London SE5 9RS, UK;


Legislation introduced in January 2001 has meant that progestogen only contraception is now available without prescription for women aged 16 years and over. Patient records of two emergency departments in the South East Thames region between 2000 and 2001 were reviewed and it was found that there was a 52% reduction in the number of women attending these emergency departments with requests for emergency contraception. These findings suggest that the legislation has meant that more women are getting their emergency contraception without prescription from pharmacies as compared with emergency departments.

  • emergency contraception

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  • * Details on how these confounders were assessed are available on request from the authors.