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April 2017

Teens, Acne, and Oral Contraceptive Pills: The Need for Greater Clarity on When Teens Can Consent

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Medical Ethics, NYU School of Medicine, New York
  • 2The Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, NYU School of Medicine, New York
JAMA Dermatol. 2017;153(4):249-250. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.5096

Of the 3.2 million teenagers who use contraceptives, 53% use oral contraceptive pills (OCPs).1 It is unclear who prescribes OCPs to this large population of teenagers. Anecdotal stories, blogs for teenagers, and acne treatment literature confirm that dermatologists are among prescribers of OCPs for teens. Four OCPs have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the management of acne.2 Some dermatologists are uncomfortable prescribing OCPs to young patients, however, and refer them to primary care physicians or gynecologists for OCP prescriptions, even when OCPs are indicated for acne.

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