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Oral contraceptives (OCs) account for half of all modern contraceptive methods used in Bangladesh, however, discontinuation remains fairly high in OC use. This paper identifies factors associated with discontinuation of OC use, where discontinuation refers to cessation of OC use in the 6 months prior to the survey. The data for this study were drawn from a survey on OC compliance in rural Bangladesh.A total of 1600 OC users, current or past, aged 15 to 49 years were interviewed; of these, 36% discontinued OC use. Of the women who discontinued, 47% reported the experience of side-effects as the main reason for OC discontinuation. Multivariate analysis identified lack of fieldworker's visit as the strongest predictor of OC discontinuation; women who were not visited by fieldworkers had a four-fold risk of discontinuing OC use. Discontinuation of OC use decreased with increased duration of use and number of living children. OC discontinuation was associated with side-effect experiences, lack of husband's support in OC use and failure to purchase OCs. Of great concern is that about 70% of the women who were at risk of unintended pregnancy were not using any method of contraception following OC discontinuation. Husband's education was positively associated with the substitution of OCs with another contraceptive method.Effective OC use should be advocated through adequate counselling about how to take it correctly, the possibility of side-effects and their proper management and, more importantly, the possible alternative contraceptive method should OCs prove unsatisfactory or unsuitable. Better provider–client interactions along with improved access to the newly established community clinics could be instrumental in the continued and effective use of OCs.