Bridge-it study: determining the effectiveness of bridging from emergency to regular contraception

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Despite having high rates of modern contraceptive use, the UK has among the highest abortion rates in Europe. Emergency contraception (EC) prevents unintended pregnancy in women who have had unprotected sex or a contraceptive accident, but trials that have successfully increased the use of emergency contraception have failed to show a reduction in unintended pregnancy rates. This study aims to determine the effectiveness of ‘bridging’ from emergency to regular contraception through community pharmacies. This is intended to increase uptake of effective contraception and consequently prevent more unintended pregnancies, than provision of emergency contraception alone.

Bridge-it is a cluster randomised crossover trial that involves 26 pharmacies in 3 UK regions (London South and Central, Lothian, and Tayside). Bridge-it will recruit a total of 2,080 women presenting for oral emergency contraception at study pharmacies, and will compare EC standard care against an intervention consisting of 3 months of a progestogen only pill (POP) and the offer to attend a local participating specialist contraceptive service (SCS) to discuss and provide ongoing effective contraception. A process evaluation (PE) will be conducted as part of the study to evaluate the feasibility and overall effectiveness of the Bridge-it intervention, by assessing what was delivered, how it was delivered, and what the role of context may have been.

This study has received funding from NHS National Institute for Health Research.

Read more about the project.


Lisa McDaid (Co-Investigator)

Susan Patterson (Research Assistant)

External collaborators

The project is led by the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian
Sharon Cameron, University of Edinburgh
Anna Glasier, University of Edinburgh
Andrew Radley, NHS Tayside
Paula Baraitser, King's College London/King's College Hospital
Richard Gilson, University College London/NHS CNWL
James Trussell, Princeton University

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