The birth control pill will be available without a prescription

Yes, it's actual good news!

We love sharing good news, and today we have the best news! Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Opill, a brand of progestin-only birth control pill, for sale over the counter, with no age restriction. With many states working to erode reproductive rights, this change will greatly increase access to birth control for those who need it.

We’ve got answers to the most common questions we’ve heard about getting the birth control pill over the counter. If you have other questions or just want to join the celebration, come find us on social @Bedsider.

What are over-the-counter (OTC) birth control pills?

Getting the birth control pill over the counter means you can buy it without ever talking to a health care provider. You can get the pill right off the shelf at the drug store and other retail locations, probably next to the condoms and the lube. The only difference between getting the birth control pill over the counter and getting it with a prescription is how you get it. They work the same way. Whether you get the pill over the counter or with a prescription, it’s a pill that you take once a day that works by releasing hormones to prevent pregnancy before it starts. The birth control pill is NOT an abortion pill, and it’s NOT emergency contraception either.

Are all birth control pills going to be available over the counter?

Nope. Right now, there is only one brand pill that’s been approved for sale over the counter without a prescription. It’s called Opill and it’s a progestin-only birth control pill, or mini-pill. You take one pill every day, and it releases a small amount of progestin into your body to prevent pregnancy. Opill doesn’t have estrogen in it, so pretty much anyone can use it safely. There is another type and brand of birth control pill that contains estrogen and progestin that is going through the process to become available OTC, but it may be a few more years before that happens.

Why do we need OTC birth control pills?

There are so many reasons! Getting your birth control pills OTC means you can start and stop using them on your own, allowing you to prevent pregnancy on your own terms. Getting the pill OTC could also save you time and money since you don’t have to see a doctor to get them. They are as safe as other medications that are sold over the counter (that’s why the FDA approved them for OTC use!). The biggest medical associations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Family Physicians agree that birth control should be available over the counter. Also, birth control pills have been available OTC all over the world for decades.

Can I get OTC birth control pills today?

No, not yet. While Opill was approved for sale over the counter, you can’t actually go to the store and get it yet. Now that it’s approved, the manufacturers have to get to work to make it affordable and accessible for everyone. We don’t know yet when it’ll be available (or exactly how much it’ll cost), but you can follow @Bedsider on social for updates on OTC pills (and more!).

What can I do if I need birth control pills today?

There are so many options for birth control that you can access right now, including ones that are already available OTC without a prescription and ones you can order and have delivered to your door! And you can still get a prescription for your birth control pills from a health care provider. Our method explorer is a great place to learn about all your birth control options and find a method you love today. And if you’re ready to access your birth control pill OTC, follow us on social @Bedsider and we’ll let you know as soon as it’s available!

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