Over-the-Counter Oral Contraceptives

A team of pediatric, adolescent and women's health experts believes that regulatory, behavioral and scientific evidence supports switching oral contraceptives from prescription-only status to over-the-counter (OTC) availability.

"Decades of research show that a majority of adolescents initiate sex before the age of 18 and that earlier use of contraception reduces the risk of teen pregnancy. Our review strongly suggests that giving teens easier access to various contraceptives will not lead to more sex but would result in fewer unwanted pregnancies," says Krishna Upadhya, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the paper's lead author.

The study, published March 14 in the Journal of Adolescent Healthy, fails to address the high probability that young adults just beginning puberty would have access to contraceptives without being provided information about the consequences of the drug by a physician. Likewise, it would do a large disservice to youth and parents acting as the primary educators of their children. Furthermore, easy access to synthetic hormones will not solve teen pregnancy it will simply serve to cover the overarching issue of unintended pregnancy.