Purpose: The rate of reported oral hormonal contraceptive use for contraception in Korea is very low (~2%) compared to the US and Europe. This phenomena is due to fear of side effects as well as sociocultural misunderstanding surrounding oral contraceptives. The present study investigated to understand the current perception, attitude, and knowledge level of Korean women regarding oral contraceptives.
Methods: This was a prospectively cross-sectional study which aimed to recruit Korean women in who are in their 20s to 40s who are willing to voluntarily respond to online surveys. The observation items consisted of demographic characteristics, social awareness and attitude, knowledge using Likert scale analysis. The data was analyzed using the SPSS Statistics 23.
Results: A total of 853 women responded to the survey questionnaire. Sixty-three percent of respondents responded that there was social prejudice in Korea regarding the use of oral contraceptives. For psychological conception in the pharmacy, approximately 60% of women wanted to keep their privacy when purchasing oral contraceptives and more than 65% said they would like to receive medication counseling from female pharmacists rather than male pharmacist. In terms of knowledge regarding oral contraceptives, only half of the respondents correctly answered the questions regarding dosing instructions. More than 60% of women responded that they do not know the side effects of oral contraceptives and both users and non-users alike were most concerned about the side effects of the drug.
Conclusion: Many women acknowledged the social prejudice or misunderstanding regarding oral contraceptives. Pharmacists can play a big role as healthcare professionals to create an environment where women can safely use the oral contraceptives by improving the quality of medication counseling.