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14th Jul 2023

Over-the-counter birth control pill approved in the US

The first ever over-the-counter birth control pill has been approved in the US by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Giving access to millions of Americans, a pill called Opill – or generically known as norgestrel – is a progestin-only oral contraceptive and is set to be available without a prescription at drug stores, convenience stores, and grocery stores.

The pill will also be available for purchase online.

It has yet to be announced when the birth control will hit the market as the FDA says this decision will be up to the manufacturer.

“Today’s approval marks the first time a nonprescription daily oral contraceptive will be an available option for millions of people in the United States,” says Patrizia Cavazzoni, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research in the FDA’s news release. “When used as directed, daily oral contraception is safe and is expected to be more effective than currently available nonprescription contraceptive methods in preventing unintended pregnancy.”

Opill is a hormonal birth control, commonly called the “mini-pill.”

It works by thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching an egg and unlike the combination pill which uses a mix of progesterone and estrogen, this only consists of a synthetic form of progesterone.

Opill has been approved in the US since 1973 but up until now, it was only available to buy once a prescription was given.

In Ireland, the mini-pill is also only available so far through a prescription and is currently free for anyone under the age of 25.