What You Should Know About The Over-The-Counter Birth Control Pill

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first over-the-counter birth control pill.

The Opill (norgestrel) tablet is a daily, non-prescription, progestin-only, oral contraceptive medication that is used to prevent pregnancy.  It can be purchased online, at pharmacies, convenience stores, and grocery stores.

Opill is a convenient birth control option and according to its manufacturer, pharmaceutical company Perrigo, it is 98% effective in preventing unintended pregnancy when used as directed.  To work effectively, the medication must be taken daily, at the same time every day.  Perrigo also advises users to avoid taking medications that may cause an interaction with Opill, as this can reduce efficacy, and result in unintended pregnancy.  Additionally, Perrigo recommends that Opill should not be taken with other hormonal birth control products such as an intra-uterine device (IUD), contraceptive patches, or injections.

Although Opill is generally safe, there are a few side effects that may occur. They include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain, cramps or bloating
  • Irregular bleeding
  • Increased appetite
  • Acne

The convenience of buying a birth control pill over the counter can be appealing to many; however, not everyone should take Opill. This group includes those who:

  • Suspect they are pregnant
  • Have breast cancer or a history of breast cancer
  • Have certain liver diseases

It is also recommended that individuals living with other forms of cancer besides breast cancer speak with their doctors before taking the medication.

While Opill is effective in preventing unintended pregnancy, it is important to note that it does not prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).  To stop the spread of STDs, please practice safe sex by using condoms.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.