(HealthDay News) – Primary care physicians are more or less likely to prescribe long-acting reversible contraception such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) to adolescents based on their knowledge, skills, clinical environment, and attitudes, according to research published in the March/April issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Susan E. Rubin, MD, MPH, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY, and colleagues interviewed 28 primary care physicians by telephone about factors affecting the likelihood of prescribing long-acting reversible contraception such as IUDs and implantable contraception to adolescents.

The researchers found that many physicians did not know that adolescents who had not previously given birth could be IUD candidates. Physicians were more likely to prescribe long-acting reversible contraception if the devices were available, if the clinical environment was supportive of adolescent contraception, and if there was the ability to insert the device. The likelihood of prescribing such contraception was also influenced by their perception of the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.

“Knowledge, skills, clinical environment, and physician attitudes all influence the likelihood a physician will counsel or insert long-acting reversible contraception for adolescents,” Rubin and colleagues conclude.

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