Reasons for contraceptive discontinuation in women 20-39 years old in New Zealand

Enrico Colli, Donald Tong, Richard Penhallegon, Fabio Parazzini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To estimate the frequency and the medical and nonmedical reasons for discontinuation of oral contraceptive (OC), intrauterine device (IUD), and injectable depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) use, data from a cohort of experienced contraceptive users in New Zealand are reported. The current analysis consists of 2469 OC, 2072 IUD, and 1721 DMPA users followed over a period of 5 years. The percentage of women who discontinued the use of the method within 24 months after entry into the cohort were 42%, 44%, and 48%, respectively, for OC, IUD, and DMPA; these differences were not statistically significant. The most common reasons given for discontinuing a contraceptive method, regardless of which method was in use, were the desire to conceive, patient preference, no longer needing contraception, and vasectomy. Among the medical reasons, menorrhagia and intermenstrual bleeding were the reasons for discontinuing use of the method in 1.5 and 1.1 times per 100 women-years among DMPA users and in 1.8 and 4.7 times per 100 women-years among OC users. Pelvic pain and infection were reasons for discontinuing contraceptive method, respectively, 4.4 and 4.3 times per 100 women-years among IUD users. In conclusion, the present study confirms, in this New Zealand population, the high discontinuation rate of contraceptive methods reported elsewhere. In contrast with previous suggestions, in this study, irregular bleeding was not an important medical reason for discontinuation of DMPA use. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-231
Number of pages5
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1999


  • Contraceptive methods
  • Discontinuation
  • Intermenstrual bleeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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