European Society of Contraception oral contraceptives survey update: birth control methods in "Europe of the 12".Int J Fertil Menopausal Stud. 1995; 40 Suppl 2:73-9.IJ
The European Society of Contraception developed a survey to examine birth control methods in the 12 countries++ of the European Community. Responses to those questions relating to prescribing++ practices of oral contraceptives (OCs) are presented herein. The survey was sent to 400 physicians. One hundred two responded, most from France, Belgium, and the United Kingdom. The responses revealed that the most popular OCs are modern combined formulations containing low doses of ethinyl estradiol and progestogens such as norgestimate, desogestrel, gestodene, and levonorgestrel. More than half of physicians prescribe a particular formulation because of its tolerability and 20% because of its hormonal content. More than 90% prescribe OCs to healthy, nonsmoking women over 40. However, three fourths will not prescribe OCs to smokers over 35. Half of physicians recommend mammography for their older OC patients. Half also recommend cholesterol screening, but 8% only for women over 30. Most physicians are no longer reluctant to prescribe OCs to their diabetic patients: 61% prescribe OCs for women with non-insulin-dependent diabetes, 56% for those with insulin-dependent diabetes, and 85% for those with a history of gestational diabetes. Despite recent studies showing no relation between past OC use and cardiovascular disease, 42% of physicians said that their greatest OC-related health concern is cardiovascular disease. One third cited noncompliance as their greatest concern. These results reveal inhomogeneous prescribing practices for OCs among European physicians. ¿Over-screening¿--not prescribing the pill because of perceived (but not necessarily real) health risks--may be depriving many women of the contraceptive and noncontraceptive benefits of OCs. Complete and accurate information--as promoted by the European Society of Contraception--is one way to combat such overscreening.