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Contraception. 2004 Apr;69(4):309-15.

Emergency contraceptive pills over-the-counter: a population-based survey of young Swedish women.

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Department of Women's and Children's Health, Uppsala University, S-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden.


One year after emergency contraceptive pills (ECP) had become prescription-free, we sent a questionnaire to 800 randomly selected women in mid-Sweden. The aim was to investigate women's knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding the method. The response rate was 71% (n = 564). The majority of the women, 65%, would prefer to purchase ECP over-the-counter (OTC) in a pharmacy. Attitudes toward the method were predominantly positive, but one fourth (24%) had worries about side effects and one third (33%) considered ECP to be a kind of abortion. Logistic regression showed that correct knowledge of and positive attitudes toward ECP contributed to estimated future use of ECP. Although women favored the OTC option, persistent misunderstanding about ECP implies that routine information from gynecologists and health professionals as well as media campaigns is needed along with the deregulation in order to make ECP an accepted and properly used contraceptive method.

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