Poor compliance and high discontinuation rates of Depot-Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (DMPA) and other contraceptive methods are major factors in the continuing problem of adolescent pregnancy. In this study we attempted to determine if providing comprehensive health care for teen mothers and their babies would improve continuation rates of DMPA. Patients who started DMPA between 1/1/96 and 1/1/99 were included. Teen mothers and their babies received all their health care in this clinic, supported by State funding. Key elements regarding DMPA in this clinic were continuity of care, phone and mail reminders of appointments, free DMPA for patients without insurance, counseling at each visit and available evening clinic. In the study period a total of 299 (age 13-22 years) patients were started on DMPA. Fifty-one percent were white, 47% black and 2% others. Sixty-three percent were single, 20% married, 3% cohabitating and 14% undetermined (missing data). Seventy-eight percent had one baby and 22% more than one. A total of 189 patients (63.2%) continued to be compliant after one year of use and 101 patients (33.8% of total) continued beyond the second year. The most common side effect reported was bleeding or spotting (32%), However only seven patients (2.3%) discontinued use because of it. It is concluded that continuity of care (same staff and providers on each visit), regular counseling, flexible hours (evening appointments), financial ease (free DMPA and no visit charge for those without insurance), combined Teen-Tot health visits and regular reminders of appointments may help improve compliance and continuation rates in teen mothers leading to better success in preventing repeat teen pregnancy.

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Published in International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, v. 14, no. 2, p. 149-152.

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