Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Opill, first-ever over-the-counter birth control, now accessible

Armin Suljovic

On March 4, the first non-prescription birth control pill was approved in the United States. The newly FDA-approved contraceptive is called Opill. states, “After nearly a decade of research and collaboration, Opill became the first prescription-free daily birth control pill in the U.S. This approval marks a major step forward in reproductive health and will help more people access the safe, effective contraception they deserve.”

Opill only contains one hormone called progestin and is estrogen-free. Opill works by thickening the cervical mucus, which helps block sperm from reaching the egg. And every pill in the pack is active to help regulate your period. Opill differs from the traditional combination pill formulas which contain two hormones — estrogen and progestin — and individuals are recommended to take the pill daily for three weeks and then take a week of placebos that bring on their period.

According to NYU Langone Health, “Many people who cannot take estrogen-progestin pills can safely use Opill. Progestin-only birth control pills like Opill are safe for those with high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, among other conditions.” The most common side effects of such pills include irregular bleeding, headaches, dizziness, nausea, increased appetite, abdominal pain, cramps or bloating. Other hormonal side effects include acne and mood changes.

According to NPR, “This isn’t a new kind of birth control pill. The drug substance was originally approved for prescription use in 1973, according to the FDA. But this is the first birth control pill that has been approved for use without a prescription from a healthcare provider.” Progestin-only pills like Opill have been considered a safe method of contraception for 50 years. 

“Having over-the-counter access to this progestin-only pill increases patients’ ability to obtain contraception that is more effective than other OTC methods like condoms or spermicides,” Associate Professor in the UC Davis Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Melissa Chen said.

“When used as directed, Opill is 98% effective at preventing pregnancy. It’s a convenient option for individuals without health insurance or frequent access to medical services, as it does not require a doctor’s appointment or prescription. No prescription, no appointment, no hassle. FDA-approved.”

Opill can be found online or in-store at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Walgreens and CVS.

To learn more information about Opill or how to access it, visit

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About the Contributors
Elizabeth Hope
Elizabeth Hope, Staff Writer
Elizabeth Hope (she/her) is a senior and a communication major at UTSA. She is originally from Montana and moved to Austin when she was 11. In 2022 she earned her associates degree in journalism from Austin Community College. After graduation she hopes to pursue a career in journalism or policy and advocacy for environmental issues. Outside of work and school she enjoys playing piano, reading and making jewelry.
Armin Suljovic
Armin Suljovic, Assistant Photo Editor
Assistant Ph

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