Condition category
Pregnancy and Childbirth
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Prospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
Emergency contraception (EC) is a tablet that can prevent pregnancy following unprotected sex. Most women in the UK go to a pharmacy for EC. It is important to start a regular method of contraception after EC, but most pharmacies cannot provide this without a prescription. This means that women must then go to a GP or a family planning clinic and some fall pregnant during this time. the aim of this study is to find out whether pharmacists should give a supply of the progestogen only pill (POP) along with EC to women as temporary contraception until they can get to a clinic. The POP is very safe with no serious risks. A smaller similar study showed that women who received the POP were likely to use it and more likely to be using contraception 6 weeks later than those who just got EC.

Who can participate?
Women aged 16 and over who attend a participating pharmacy for EC

What does the study involve?
Participating pharmacies are randomly allocated to give EC as usual, or to give the POP with the offer of rapid access to the local family planning clinic. Participating women are surveyed at 4 and 12 months about contraceptive use, and about any pregnancies they may have had. Women who received the POP are asked if they used it and/or attended the family planning clinic. In order to find out whether providing the POP prevents unintended pregnancies, with the participating women’s permission, existing NHS databases are checked to see how many women in the study had an abortion within one year. Women, pharmacists and family planning clinic staff are also interviewed about how providing the POP/rapid access might work in everyday practice.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
The information from this study will help to determine whether providing women with a temporary supply of POP along with help to get a quick appointment at a local sexual health clinic prevents more unintended pregnancies than just using EC alone. The POP is a very safe method of contraception and the POP used in the study is widely used, so no risks are expected.

Where is the study run from?
1. Community pharmacies in NHS Lothian & Chalmers Sexual Health Centre (UK)
2. Margaret Pyke Centre & participating community pharmacies (UK)
3. Kings College London Sexual Health Service & participating community pharmacies (UK)
4. Community pharmacies in NHS Tayside & Tayside Sexual Health Service (UK)

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
April 2017 to September 2019

Who is funding the study?
Health Technology Assessment Programme (UK)

Who is the main contact?
Dr Sharon Cameron or

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Dr Sharon Cameron


Contact details

Chalmers Centre
United Kingdom

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number

HTA 15/113/01

Study information

Scientific title

A randomised controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of bridging from emergency to regular contraception: the Bridge–it study


Study hypothesis

Provision of a ‘bridging' supply of the progestogen only pill plus an invitation for a rapid appointment at a local sexual health and reproductive health service to women at the time they present for emergency contraception (EC) at a community pharmacy, will be associated with higher uptake of effective contraception and fewer unintended pregnancies (and reduced abortion rates) compared to standard care alone (provision of EC and advice on commencing effective contraception after EC).

Ethics approval

South East Scotland REC 01, 27/06/2017, ref: 17/SS/0080

Study design

Cluster randomised controlled cross over trial

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Cluster randomised trial

Trial setting


Trial type


Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details to request a patient information sheet


Reproductive health


Community pharmacies will be cluster randomised to provide the intervention followed by a control phase (on a new group of women) or vice versa. Computer generated cluster randomisation: a confidential list is generated made up of a random mix of permuted blocks of size 2, 4 and 6 (100 units) and then assigned the order by looking it up on the confidential list as new pharmacies join.

The planned intervention is a composite intervention consisting of 3 months of a progestogen only pill (POP) containing 75 mcg desogestrel and the offer to attend a local participating sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service to discuss and provide ongoing effective contraception.

Intervention type



Drug names

Primary outcome measure

1. Effective contraception use (hormonal and intrauterine) determined by telephone contact (or survey) at 4 months
2. Long acting reversible conraception (LARC) use, self reported at 4 months
3. Proportion of participants having undergone an abortion using record linkage from participants to national registries at 12 months

Secondary outcome measures

1. Effective contraception use, determined by telephone contact (or survey) at 12 months
2. LARC use in both groups at 12 months
3. Proportion of participants with unintended pregnancy, self-reported using validated tool the London measure of Unintended Pregnancy, at 12 months
4. Process evaluation of the intervention; implementation, fidelity and reach (to understand why/why not the intervention works and to inform future roll out/implementation), measured from quantitative and qualitative interviews of women, and qualitative interviews of pharmacists and focus group discussions with staff from sexual ad reproductive health service at varying time points throughout the study
5. Cost effectiveness: incremental cost-effectiveness ratio at 12 months: every £100 spent on the intervention resulted in X fewer abortions for a savings of £Y (costs will include the pharmacist training to provide POP, direct and indirect costs of health service use, and the provision and dispensing of POP, abortion costs)

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

1. Intake of oral emergency contraception (1.5 mg Levonorgestrel)
2. Willing to participate in the trial
3. Willing to give contact details and be contacted at 4 and 12 months by phone or text or e-mail or post
4. Willing to give identifying data sufficient to allow data linkage with NHS registries
5. Female 16 years or older

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants

2080 participants total; 26 clusters, 80 per cluster

Participant exclusion criteria

1. Not willing to provide contact details or personal data sufficient to allow identification/linkage with NHS registries
2. Contraindications to the POP (there are very few)
3. On medication that interacts adversely with POP
4. Age under 16
5. Already using a hormonal method of contraception
6. Require interpreting services

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Community pharmacies in NHS Lothian & Chalmers Sexual Health Centre
Chalmers Centre 2a Chlamers street
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Margaret Pyke Centre & participating community pharmacies
Mortimer Market
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Kings College London Sexual Health Service & participating community pharmacies
Denmark Hill
United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Community pharmacies in NHS Tayside & Tayside Sexual Health Service
Ninewells Hospital
United Kingdom

Sponsor information


University of Edinburgh

Sponsor details

Old College
South Bridge
United Kingdom

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

Health Technology Assessment Programme

Alternative name(s)

NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme, HTA

Funding Body Type

government organisation

Funding Body Subtype

Federal/National Government


United Kingdom

Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

1. The clinical study report for NIHR/HTA will be used for publication and presentation at scientific meetings. Investigators will publish the results of the study in peer reviewed journals
2. Summaries of results will also be made available to all participants at the end of the study

IPD sharing plan
The current data sharing plans for the current study are unknown and will be made available at a later date

Intention to publish date


Participant level data


Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

Publication citations

Additional files

Editorial Notes

14/08/2018: The recruitment end date has been changed from 08/06/2018 to 30/04/2019 05/03/2018: Recruitment start date has been updated from 01/10/2017 to 16/12/2017. Recruitment end date has been updated from 28/02/2018 to 08/06/2018. 26/10/2017: Trial website was added 01/09/2017: Ethics approval information has been added. Recruitment start date has been updated from 01/06/2017 to 01/10/2017. Recruitment end date has been updated from 01/09/2017 to 28/02/2018. Added contact details or