First over-the-counter birth control pill could come to Alabama if FDA approves

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – In November, the FDA will review a contraceptive called Opill to see if it can be safely sold without having to see a doctor. Currently, there are no other birth control pills in the United States that do not require a prescription.

Dr. Wes Stubblefield with ADHP said that Opill has been around for a while and it is a progesterone only pill, so it does not contain any estrogen. He said the estrogen component of a pill is usually what can cause problems for women taking birth control and that’s one of the reasons they get tested at the doctor. He said that since Opill doesn’t have estrogen, that’s how he might not need a prescription.

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

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

“If they’re not taken correctly, they don’t work very well,” Stubblefield said of birth control pills. “People need to know that they are taking them correctly, that they can access them and that they can afford them. They need to take them as prescribed, understand the risks and benefits, and make sure they follow their regular scheduled check-ups, to ensure they stay healthy.

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

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