The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

What to know about Opill, the first over-the-counter birth control pill

The first over-the-counter birth control pill, Opill, is now available for purchase online and in stores soon.

Opill, the first over-the-counter birth control pill, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last summer as a daily oral contraceptive. Since late March, Opill has been for sale online and on the shelves of major retail stores.

Now, with the introduction of Opill in stores such as CVS and Walgreens, teens will be able to walk into a store and purchase birth control pills without the need for any professional consultation. Californian teens do not need parental notification or consent to purchase birth control pills.

“Nonprescription availability of Opill may reduce barriers to access by allowing individuals to obtain an oral contraceptive without the need to first see a health care provider,” the FDA said in a statement addressing the FDA approval of Opill. “Almost half of the 6.1 million pregnancies in the US each year are unintended […] Availability of nonprescription Opill may help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and their potential negative impacts.”

Birth control pills are one of many contraceptives taken by people to prevent pregnancy. Typical birth control pills prescribed are usually combination pills, which contain the synthetic hormones estrogen and progestin. Estrogen regulates menstrual cycles and prevents ovarian follicles from maturing, while progestin prevents pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation and making cervical mucus less permeable for sperm. According to Planned Parenthood, birth control bills can have a 99 percent effectiveness rate if used correctly.

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Opill is a progestin-only birth control pill, with a reported 98 percent effectiveness rate by the FDA. Although estrogen pills often help prevent irregular menstrual cycles, progestin-only pills usually have fewer side effects than combination pills; side effects of Opill may include acne, fatigue, abdominal pain and irregular menstrual cycle patterns. Birth control pills without estrogen should be considered especially for smokers or those at high risk of developing blood clots, as it increases the (small) risk of clotting factors.

“The progestin-only pill has an extremely high safety profile and virtually no one can have a health concern using it,” University of Washington obstetrics and gynecology professor Dr. Sarah Prager said in a National Public Radio (NPR) interview.

According to its website, Opill starts working 48 hours after the pill is consumed. Pills should be taken once every 24 hours, and protective barriers should be used during intercourse if a consistent intake schedule is not maintained. 

Near Los Altos High School, students can expect to find Opill for sale at the CVS on El Monte Avenue or the Walgreens on 2nd Street.

A one-month supply of 28 pills costs $19.99, three months of 84 pills costs $49.99 and six months of 168 pills costs $89.99. These prices are competitive with industry prices.

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Ashley Tumacder
Ashley Tumacder, Staff Writer

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