Use of hormonal contraception declines again

21 February 2023|By Titus Health Care

Foundation for Pharmaceutical Statistics message On the decline in the use of hormonal contraception. In 2021, pharmacists dispensed such a drug to 1.4 million women. In doing so, they saw a 4% decrease in the number of hormonal contraceptives compared to 2020. So we see a decrease in the overall use of hormonal contraception in the Netherlands. Below you can read how exactly this is per contraceptive method.

Fewer women opt for the combined pill

The combined pill is the most widely used form of contraception. As many as 63% of women use the combined pill to prevent pregnancy. However, the pill is steadily losing popularity. The number of women using the first-choice combination pill according to the NHG Standard on Contraception (ethinylestradiol/levonorgestrel (30/150 µg)) decreased by 5%. This decrease also applied to second-choice combination pills and other combination pills.

Alternatives: patch and vaginal ring

A smaller group of women opt for a vaginal ring or a patch. These contraceptive methods also contain two hormones and can be used for 3 weeks or 1 week at a time, respectively. The vaginal ring saw a decrease in usage of -8%, unlike the patch; of which usage actually increased by 12%.

Progesterone-only agents: increase in number of users

Progesterone-only methods such as the "minipill" containing only desogestrel were used by more women in 2021, though. The oral contraceptive pill was also used by more women in this year than in 2020.

Long-acting forms of contraception gaining popularity

Unlike the pill, contraceptive methods that you don't have to think about every day are gaining in popularity. 2021 therefore showed an increase in the number of women using the hormonal coil (430,000) and the implantable rod (35,000). This takes into account the fact that women can use these methods for several years. An estimated total of 1.8 million women in the Netherlands use hormonal contraception.

All figures at a glance

Want to see the number of users of hormonal contraceptives in 2021 and the difference from 2020 in a row? You can find these in the news release From the Foundation for Pharmaceutical Statistics.

Source: Foundation for Pharmaceutical Statistics. Hormonal contraception: usage down again. Pharmaceutical Weekly, Vol. 157 No. 46.

Use of hormonal contraception declines