17 Oct 2016 Learning about Contraception at IMU
The talk for the month of August 2016, a joint collaboration between Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society-Young Pharmacist Chapter (MPS-YPC), IMU School of Pharmacy and IMU Alumni, was entitled “Let’s Talk about Contraception”. The talk was held at the IMU Bukit Jalil campus and had a total of 96 attendees, of which pharmacy students formed the majority of the attendees. Some practicing pharmacists, IMU lecturers and undergraduate students from other Universities also attended the talk.
The speaker, Vanessa Liang LuWen, who is currently the Head of Department for Obstetrics and Gynaecology Pharmacy Unit in Hospital Kuala Lumpur, obtained her MPharm degree from University of Strathclyde, Glasgow and her Master in Clinical Pharmacy from the National University of Malaysia.
The talk was mainly focused on the different kinds of oral hormonal contraceptives with its’ respective modes of action, usage, missed pill management, advantages and side effects. Oral hormonal contraceptives can be categorised into combined oral contraceptive pills (COCPs), progestogen-only contraceptives pills (POPs) and emergency contraceptive pills. The differences between the three types of oral contraceptives and considerations for selecting the most suitable oral contraceptive were discussed.
The speaker also touched on the drug interactions between some commonly used medications and contraceptive pills which can affect the efficacy of the contraception. For instance, antibiotics like rifampicin and antiepileptics like carbamazepine can induce hepatic metabolism of combined oral contraceptive, reducing its effectiveness and causing unintended pregnancy.
Lastly, Vanessa highlighted certain side effects and complications of taking oral contraceptive pills. Women must immediately discontinue combined hormonal contraceptives if they experience warning signs often called ACHES, which stands for Abdominal pain, Chest pain, Headaches, Eye problems and Severe leg pain. By providing a tailored care plan, pharmacists are able to meet individual’s reproductive needs, minimise the risk to users of contraception, as well as improve patients’ compliance and outcomes.
To further explore participants’ understanding on the topic, Vanessa then conducted an interactive Kahoot! session with the participants. Before the talk ended, there was a Question and Answer session in which some participants took the opportunity to clear their doubts.
Feedback from several participants after the talk revealed that they found the talk to be beneficial and enlightening. One of the participants, who is currently working as a provisionally registered pharmacist in National Heart Institute of Malaysia shared that the alumni talk has been really interesting and helpful as it gave him a better idea of practical applications and problem solving skills when handling cases in real life.
The talk concluded with the chairperson of MPS-YPC, Lim Shi Hao presenting a certificate of appreciation to our guest speaker Vanessa, for all her effort and valuable input for this talk.