The first over-the-counter birth control pill could be coming to Alabama if FDA approves

Published: Sep. 18, 2022 at 4:02 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - In November, the FDA is going to review a birth control called Opill to see if it can be safely sold over the counter and without having to go to the doctor. Right now, there’s no other contraception pill in the U.S. that doesn’t require a prescription.

Dr. Wes Stubblefield with ADPH said Opill has been around for a while and is a progesterone only pill, so it doesn’t contain any estrogen. He said the estrogen component of a pill is usually what can cause problems for women taking birth control and is one reason they run tests at the doctor. He said since Opill doesn’t have estrogen, it’s how it may not need the prescription.

He said progesterone only pills are supported by national organizations and safe. Stubblefield said if Opill gets approved by the FDA, it would improve access to care around the state.

But, he said over the counter medications can be misused and shouldn’t be an excuse not to go to the doctor.

“If they aren’t taken appropriately, they don’t work very well,” Stubblefield said about birth control pills. “People need to know that they are taking them appropriately, that they can get to them, and that they can afford them. They need to take them in the way they are prescribed, understand the risk and benefits, and make sure they keep up with their regular scheduled checks, so they make sure they are staying healthy.”

We don’t know how much the pill would cost if it does get FDA approval, but Stubblefield said to keep it accessible, it needs to be affordable.

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