Quantifying the economic burden of unintended pregnancies due to drug-drug interactions with hormonal contraceptives from the United States payer perspective

Annesha White, Meenakshi Srinivasan, Jason Lott, Todd Williamson, Sheldon X. Kong, Leo Plouffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In the United States of America (USA), nearly 10 million women use oral contraceptives (OCs). Concomitant administration of certain medications can result in contraceptive failure, and consequently unintended pregnancies due to drug-drug interactions (DDIs). The objective of this analysis was to estimate the economic impact of unintended pregnancies due to DDIs among women of reproductive age using an OC alone or in combination with an enzyme inducer co-medication in the USA from a payer perspective. Methods: A Markov model using a cohort of 1,000 reproductive-age women was developed to estimate costs due to contraceptive failure for OC alone versus OC with concomitant enzyme inducer drugs. All women were assumed to begin an initial state, continuing until experiencing an unintended pregnancy. Unintended pregnancies could result in birth, induced abortion, spontaneous abortion, or ectopic pregnancy. The cohort was analyzed over a time horizon of 1 year with a cycle length of 1 month. Estimates of costs and probabilities of unintended pregnancy outcomes were obtained from the literature. Probabilities from the Markov cohort trace was used to estimate number of pregnancy outcomes. Results: On average, enzyme inducers resulted in 20 additional unintended pregnancies with additional unadjusted and adjusted costs median (range) of USD136,304 (USD57,436-USD320,093) and USD65,146 (USD28,491-USD162,635), respectively. The major component of the direct cost is attributed to the cost of births. Considering the full range of events, DDIs with enzyme inducers could result in 16-25 additional unintended pregnancies and total unadjusted and adjusted costs ranging between USD46,041 to USD399,121 and USD22,839 to USD202,788 respectively. Conclusion: The direct costs associated with unintended pregnancies due to DDIs may be substantial and are potentially avoidable. Greater awareness of DDI risk with oral contraceptives among payers, physicians, pharmacists and patients may reduce unintended pregnancies in at-risk populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number171
JournalGates Open Research
StatePublished - 2021


  • Drug-drug interactions
  • Economic evaluation
  • Hormonal contraceptives
  • Markov model
  • Unintended pregnancies


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