Of the 6.1 million pregnancies per year, half are unintended. Unintended pregnancies can lead to poor maternal and child outcomes, including delayed prenatal care and a higher risk for preterm birth. While birth control options are available, there has never been an affordable, easily accessible over-the-counter option. Until now! The FDA recently approved Opill, an oral, progestin-only birth control pill developed by Grand Rapids-based Perrigo. This week on Fox 17, Dr. Bitner discusses the benefits and risks of OTC birth control.
The progestin-only pill is a safe and effective birth control option with fewer side effects than progestin and estrogen pills. Birth control pills have multiple benefits, including easy-to-take, low cost, and non-invasive (compared to other forms of birth control that require insertion by a doctor). A new benefit is that Opill will be available without a prescription.
Birth control pills do have risks and side effects. The most common risk of the progestin-only pill is unintended pregnancy if not taken correctly. You must take birth control at the same time every day. Common side effects include irregular bleeding and mood changes such as increased irritability, anxiety, and depression.
Jane was 22, in college, and was not ready to start a family. She didn’t have great insurance and also did not have time to visit a doctor in between classes. Jane was relieved that she could get Opill without seeing a healthcare provider. Jane picked up the pill, began taking the pill as her period was ending, and used backup protection for a month. She also set a daily alarm on her phone to establish a daily habit. Jane was grateful she could have family planning and avoid an unintended pregnancy without much investment in money, energy, or time.
Health Tip of the Week:
Opill is intended to hit markets in 2024. Meeting with your healthcare provider to understand your options for avoiding unplanned pregnancy is important. Make sure to ask about the new OTC birth control, Opill.
Watch the full segment.