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Mini Pill, Big Impact

  • Category: Women's Health
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baton Rouge General
Mini Pill, Big Impact

Back in 1973, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Opill, an oral birth control pill sometimes called the “mini-pill”, for use with a prescription. Now, 50 years after its initial approval, Opill has become the first oral contraceptive approved by the FDA for use without a prescription.

Opill is a progestin-only pill that prevents pregnancy by thickening cervical mucus at the entrance to the uterus so that sperm can’t pass through to fertilize the egg. Taken at the same time every day, it’s 93% effective at preventing pregnancy. That’s a little lower than the 99% efficacy of combination pills – pills that include both estrogen and progestin. However, women who take prescription pills are typically required to visit their physician annually to renew their birth control prescription. That can be a barrier for a variety of reasons including insurance, appointment wait times, and cost.

With the Opill’s approval, the U.S. joins more than 100 countries around the world that have made at least one birth control pill option available over the counter, including most countries in Latin America, as well as India, China and the United Kingdom. Birth control pills have been incredibly popular in the U.S. since they were first approved in 1960. Today, 99% of sexually active women use some form of contraception, with birth control pills ranking as one of the most popular choices. And while the majority of women use birth control pills to prevent pregnancy, 14% of pill users take them to treat endometriosis, acne, or painful cramps and other menstruation side effects.

Opill is expected to hit the shelves online and in stores in early 2024. The cost has not yet been released.