March 31, 2011

More Teens Using Birth Control Pills

According to a new study released by Thomson Reuters, more US teenagers are using oral contraceptives.

The study found that 18 percent of teenage women between ages 13 and 18 filled prescriptions for oral contraceptives in 2009, which is a number that has jumped since 2002.

Reuters reported that the number of commercially insured teens filling birth control prescriptions from 2002 to 2009 increased 63 percent, while prescriptions for those with Medicaid jumped 38 percent.

The study found that older teens account for the bulk of the prescriptions. 

In 2009, 27.1 percent of 18-year-olds were prescribed oral contraceptives, compared to 3.7 percent of 13-year-olds.

According to the Thomson Reuters MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database, the birth control pill Yaz was the most popular brand in 2009 for women ages 13 to 18.

The study is based on data from over 3 million individuals included in the Thomson Reuters Multi-State Medicaid Database.

The subjects "were women ages 13 to 33 with at least six months of enrollment in a year and prescription drug coverage from 2002-2009," a Thomson Reuters statement said.

According to the study, patients' share of the medication costs has remained largely unchanged.  The study said that their share was $12.79 in 2009 and $11.90 in 2002.

"These findings provide a benchmark for oral contraceptive use in the insured population," said Bill Marder, a senior vice president and healthcare economist at Thomson Reuters.

Marder told Reuters that the higher rate of birth-control pills may also figure into the debate on whether contraceptives should be provided as part of preventative health services offered until the Obama administration's healthcare law.


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