On July 13, 2023, the FDA approved Opill as the first over the counter oral contraceptive in the United States. This allows the pill to be purchased without a prescription at drug stores, grocery stores, and online. The approval of the drug is a major win in the midst of the legal battles over women’s reproductive rights. Opill was first approved by the FDA in 1973 as a prescription.
The availability of Opill allows more women to gain access to oral contraceptives without needing to see a doctor. For those who are uninsured, this allows them to save money on visiting a doctor for a birth control prescription. In recent years women’s healthcare services have become more and more inaccessible. According to CNN, in 2021, around 45% of women have experienced a barrier to reproductive health services.
The FDA also reports that “almost half of the 6.1 million pregnancies in the U.S. each year are unintended.” Unintentional pregnancies have been linked to negative effects on both mothers and newborns. These effects include reduced access to prenatal care and risk of delivering prematurely. This leads to risks in neonatal health and development. With the increased accessibility of Opill, the number of unintended pregnancies are more likely to decrease, leading to a lower negative impact on a mother and a child’s health development.
Is the pill safe?
Opill contains only one hormone, progestin, while most contraceptive pills contain both estrogen and progestin. Progestin only pills, also known as mini-pills, have very few conditions to when taking them is not advised. Stephanie Sober, a physician at Perrigo Co., reports that since Opill doesn’t contain estrogen it has “very few and quite rare contraindications, so they’re safe and appropriate for a broader population to use to prevent pregnancy.”
Like most contraceptives, the side effects of Opill includes irregular bleeding, headaches, dizziness, nausea, increased appetite, or bloating. It is likely that the pill will lead to changes in menstrual cycles such as irregular spotting and longer bleeding. It is advised that the pill should not be used by those who have or had breast cancer. The pill should also not be used along with another hormonal birth control. Opill should not be used as a protection against HIV, AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Opill is expected to be in stores in the United States as early as 2024.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi! My name is Reva and I am currently a senior in high school. I compete in speech and debate and mock trial which has led me to discover my passion for politics and law. I’ve always enjoyed writing which is why I decided to join Women in Politics. In my spare time I enjoy baking and going on walks.