More U.S. teenagers are using birth control pills, according to a new study by Thomson Reuters released on Thursday.
Eighteen percent of teenage women ages 13 to 18 filled prescriptions for oral contraceptives in 2009, a proportion that has steadily risen since 2002, the study found.
The number of commercially insured teens filling birth control prescriptions from 2002 to 2009 increased 63 percent, while prescriptions for those with Medicaid rose 38 percent.
Older teens account for the bulk of the prescriptions, the study found. Among Medicaid recipients, 27.1 percent of 18-year-olds were prescribed oral contraceptives in 2009, compared to 3.7 percent of 13-year-olds.
The birth control pill Yaz, made by Bayer, was by far the most popular brand in 2009 for women ages 13 to 18, according to the Thomson Reuters MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database.
The study is based on data from that database and the Thomson Reuters Multi-State Medicaid Database, which include more than 3 million individuals.
The subjects "were women ages 13 to 33 with at least six months of enrollment in a year and prescription drug coverage from 2002-2009," a Thomson Reuters statement said.
Patients' share of the medication costs has remained largely unchanged, the study found. Their share was $12.79 in 2009 and $11.90 in 2002, according to the study.
"These findings provide a benchmark for oral contraceptive use in the insured population," said Bill Marder, a senior vice president and health care economist at Thomson Reuters.
Marder said that the higher rate of birth-control pills may also figure into the debate on whether contraceptives should be provided as part of preventative health services offered under the Obama administration's health care law.