Ever since the birth control pill first came onto the market in the 1970s, women and girls have had to get a prescription from their doctor. For those in under-resourced and underfunded communities, this can present a challenge. Women in those areas are less likely to have access to effective birth control methods than those in other communities, and Mississippi has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the U.S.

However, a drug approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will make accessing contraception easier. In July 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Opill, an over-the-counter method of birth control that will soon be sold online and in stores.

So what do you need to know about Opill?

  1. Opill (norgestrel) is a progestin-only pill, also known as a mini pill. Because it doesn’t have estrogen, it has fewer risks than pills that contain progestin and estrogen. Those who have had breast cancer or have a history with the disease should not take this pill, along with those who have a known or suspected pregnancy and unexplained vaginal bleeding.
  2. Opill has the around same effective rate as prescription birth control pills—99% effective with perfect use and 93% effective with typical use. Like similar oral contraceptives, Opill must be taken at the same time each day.
  3. The OTC version will not have an age restriction. This will help improve young people’s access to contraception and reduce rates of unintended pregnancy.
  4. The manufacturer has not revealed the cost, but oral contraceptives can range from $0 for those whose health insurance includes it to about $75.
  5. Opill will be available at drug stores, convenience stores, grocery stores, and online in early 2024

While we’re waiting for Opill to be released, here are some helpful links.

Decide what works for you with Choose Your Method. Keep an eye out for Opill on Choose Your Method in 2024!

Find youth-friendly healthcare in Mississippi

Know your county’s STI/STD and teen birth statistics.
Keep up with our work at teenhealthms.org.

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