This Guidance provides information for clinicians on the steps to be taken before providing a woman with her first prescription for combined oral contraception. It updates and replaces previous Faculty Guidance.1 A key to the grades of recommendations, based on levels of evidence, is given at the end of this document. Details of the methods used by the Clinical Effectiveness Unit (CEU) in developing this Guidance, and evidence tables summarising the research basis of the recommendations, are available on the Faculty website (www.ffprhc.org.uk). Abbreviations used include: blood pressure (BP), body mass index (BMI), bone mineral density (BMD), breakthrough bleeding (BTB), British National Formulary (BNF), combined oral contraception (COC), Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM), confidence interval (CI), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), emergency contraception (EC), ethinyl oestradiol (EE), Faculty Aid to Continuing Professional Development Topics (FACT), Family Planning Association (fpa), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), general practitioner (GP), intermenstrual bleeding (IMB), luteinising hormone (LH), microgram (mg), myocardial infarction (MI), odds ratio (OR), oral contraception (OC), pulmonary embolism (PE), relative risk (RR), Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network (SIGN), sexually transmitted infection (STI), Summary of Product Characteristics (SPCs), venous thromboembolism (VTE), World Health Organization (WHO), WHO Medical Eligibility Criteria (WHOMEC), WHO Selected Practice Recommendations (WHOSPR).
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