Text Messaging Support for Urban Adolescents and Young Adults Using Injectable Contraception: Outcomes of the DepoText Pilot Trial

  • Maria Trent
    Address correspondence to: Maria Trent, M.D., M.P.H., Section on Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 200 N. Wolfe Street, #2064, Baltimore, MD 21287.
    Section on Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland

    Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
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  • Carol Thompson
    Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
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  • Kathy Tomaszewski
    Section on Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
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      To evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effectiveness of DepoText, a text messaging reminder system designed to improve moderately long-acting reversible contraception appointment attendance among young urban adolescent girls and young adult women using Depo-Provera.


      Female patients aged 13–21 years willing to be randomized, using Depo-Provera, and owning a cell phone with text messaging were recruited from an urban academic practice in a community with high rates of unplanned pregnancy for this institutional review board–approved randomized controlled pilot trial. Participants completed a baseline Web-based survey and were followed for three injection cycles. Intervention participants received welcome, appointment, and healthy self-management messages using the Compliance for Life short messaging system platform over each injection cycle. Compliance for Life recorded outgoing and incoming communications, and patients were tracked for clinical behaviors. The log-transformed number of days between scheduled appointment and injection was analyzed using linear regression.


      Recruitment data show 95% eligibility and 91% enrollment rates with maximum enrollment completion in 3 months. Most were African-American and resided in low-income, single-parent, and mother-headed households. Most participants had cell phone plans that included unlimited text messaging and Internet access and completed all three Depo-Provera cycles. Intervention participants returned closer to their scheduled appointments than their control peers for the first visit (Β = −.75; 95% confidence interval, −1.4 to .06; p = .03) but not for the second and third visits.


      The DepoText intervention is acceptable, feasible, and shows short-term preliminary efficacy for improving clinic attendance for moderately long-acting reversible contraception appointments. Additional research exploring the cost and longitudinal prevention effectiveness is warranted.


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