Opill Is Here and It’s Over the Counter

By Sofía García (she/her), 18 years old, Collaborator

September 12, 2023

Often, the process of obtaining a birth control pill involves scheduling, attending and paying for an appointment with a doctor, obtaining a prescription, and then traveling to purchase it at a pharmacy. But soon there will be another way to get the pill… and it won’t require a prescription.

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Opill, a birth control pill, for sale without a prescription. They approved it without age restrictions, which means it will be available for teenagers. but how does it work? And most importantly, how could it work for you?

A progestin-only pill

The Pill is a hormonal contraceptive. It prevents ovulation (when an ovary releases an egg) and thickens cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg that has been released. There are two types of pills: combination pills (which contain the hormones estrogen and progestin) and progestin-only pills (also called minipills). Opill is a progestin-only pill.

Accessibility and affordability

The plan is for Opill to be available in early 2024. The company behind it has said it is committed to making it affordable.

As the first FDA-approved non-prescription oral contraceptive, Opill eliminates long-standing medical barriers. For example, people without insurance will not have to worry about going to see a healthcare provider and paying for a visit to get a prescription.

Several states have already made hormonal contraceptives available by prescription (as opposed to a doctor’s prescription), some regardless of age. Opill is the first to be available in the US without a prescription.

A Health Care Visit Is Still Important

Accessibility is great, but it’s still a good idea to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider as needed. Discussing birth control options, medical history, and any concerns with a health professional can help you make an informed decision about whether Opill, or any birth control pill, is right for you.

If you are considering OPill for reasons other than preventing unwanted pregnancies, such as managing menstrual cramps, a healthcare provider can provide valuable resources and solutions.

Do not forget!

The pill is 99 percent effective with perfect use. “Perfect use” means taking the pill at about the same time every day. Because this doesn’t always happen, the effectiveness rate with “typical” use is closer to 93 percent.

Worried about forgetting? “Habit building” is a useful tool you can use to make the pill part of your daily routine! For example, placing it next to your toothbrush, facial cleanser, or anything else you already use every day at around the same time can make it easier to remember to take it.

It is also important to remember that the pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs); To do this, you will need a barrier method of contraception. This is where condoms come in; Combining a condom and the pill is a great way to increase effectiveness and prevent STIs.

We’ve come a long way

With federal setbacks like the overturning of Roe v. Wade, it’s important that we celebrate this progress toward accessible and effective reproductive care!


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