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Finnish physicians' opinions of vaginal estriol in self-care

Finnish physicians' opinions of vaginal estriol in self-care

Maturitas 31(3): 241-247

Objective: In Finland vaginal estriol drugs became available without prescription in 1992, resulting in widespread advertising of these drugs to lay women and in an increase in sales. The purpose of this study was to find out what Finnish physicians think about the fact that vaginal estriol does not require a prescription, and if they have found any problems resulting from this. Methods: A questionnaire survey was sent to gynecologists and general practitioners (n = 341, 77% response rate) in Finland in 1996. Results: 60% of the physicians considered vaginal estriol to be suitable for over-the-counter (OTC) status, and to be much more suitable than the other estrogen containing drugs (contraceptive pill and drugs for emergency contraception) we asked about in our study. Opinions varied by specialty, work experience and reported problems relating to OTC status. The most common reasons given for suitability referred to increased access, and those given for unsuitability referred to general dangers of self-care. Of all physicians 12%), and of private gynecologists (n = 33) 49% reported having observed problems with the OTC status, mostly in care-seeking and indications; some gynecologists mentioned adverse effects of the drug itself. 39% of the physicians thought that the best person to provide information about vaginal estriol is a physician. Conclusions: Pharmacological literature and physicians' opinions suggest a re-evaluation of the role of physician surveillance of vaginal estriol drugs.

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Accession: 010666201

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PMID: 10340284

DOI: 10.1016/s0378-5122(99)00010-9

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