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What is Opill and is it right for me?

Opill will be available in-stores and online in March 2024. Here’s everything you need to know about the first birth control pill available without a prescription.

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Opill is the first birth control pill to be available for purchase without a prescription—a huge win for reproductive and sexual health care access! But what is Opill, how does it work, and who is it right for? Alyssa Wagner (DNP, RN, APRN, WHNP-BC), Hey Jane’s Medical Director, who has been counseling patients on birth control options best for their bodies for over 14 years, answers your questions.

How does Opill work to prevent pregnancy?

Opill is a safe and effective progestin-only birth control pill (aka “POP” or “mini pill”), one of many progestin-only options and one of more than one hundred birth control options—both hormonal and non-hormonal—available today. Opill, like other POPs or mini pills, helps prevent pregnancy by making the mucus in your cervix thicker to help prevent sperm from accessing an egg. 

These pills use progestin, the synthetic form of the naturally occurring hormone progesterone, unlike combination pills which use both estrogen and progestin. While all mini pills have some progestin, norgestrel is the specific form used in Opill.

It’s important to note that Opill takes a week to work, and that you should have another backup method during that week if trying to prevent pregnancy. 

How safe is Opill? Is it FDA-approved?

Opill is the safest, lowest-risk birth control pill that’s available and is approved by the FDA. In fact, it’s safer than Tylenol! While Opill was approved in 2023 for over-the-counter sales, which will start in March 2024, it has been available with a prescription for decades. 

How effective is Opill at preventing pregnancy?

Opill is up to 98% effective at preventing pregnancy with perfect use, and 91% effective with typical use. 

Opill, like other progestin-only birth control pills, should be taken at the same time every day in order for it to be effective; for some people, this may be difficult and a combination birth control pill (which has both progestin and estrogen) or a different method of birth control may be a better option. 

What are the side effects of Opill?

As a mini pill, Opill can have fewer side effects than combination pills. That said, there are some side effects to be aware of. 

Progestin-only pills like Opill can cause:

  • Irregular bleeding (including spotting or missing a period)
  • Breast tenderness
  • Mood changes
Opill birth control pill pros and cons

Join us on March 26 as Hey Jane experts break down everything you need to know about Opill

Register for the webinar

Join us on March 26 as Hey Jane experts break down everything you need to know about Opill

Register for the webinar

Where can I get Opill?

Starting March 2024, Opill will be available online and in select drug stores that choose whether and how to stock Opill. Retailers that choose to sell it will also decide which supply option (one or three month packs) to stock, with more options available on opill.com. Similar to emergency contraception, Opill could be kept in a locked case on the shelf or behind the pharmacy counter, which could create access barriers.

Hey Jane will offer Opill sometime in Spring 2024. Looking for birth control now? Our team can help guide you to options that avoid specific side effects and align with your needs here.

How much does Opill cost?

Opill’s suggested retail price is $19.99 for a one-month supply and $49.99 for a three-month supply per it’s manufacturer, Perrigo. A six-month supply will also be available for $89.99 exclusively on opill.com.  

If you are uninsured, access to Opill will allow you to save the cost of a visit to a health care provider for a prescription.

Is Opill covered by insurance?

It can be! Although it will be available over-the-counter, providers can still write prescriptions for Opill. If your insurance covers Opill, it may be cheaper than if you were to pick it up without a prescription. Hey Jane accepts select insurance plans and can discuss whether Opill is the best option for you based on your medical history, personal needs, and lifestyle preferences.

Who can take Opill?

Opill can be taken by many people as a form of birth control, including those with specific medical conditions, which is why it was approved for sale without a prescription. Whether Opill is the right method for you depends on your medical history, personal needs, and lifestyle preferences. 

What birth control pills are alternatives to Opill?

There are a number of POPs, or mini pills, that work similarly to Opill and do not contain estrogen, but are only available with a prescription. If you’re looking for something specific–whether to avoid certain side effects or because of insurance coverage–the Hey Jane team can help guide you to the best option for you.

There are also combination pills, which contain both progestin and estrogen, which many people opt for because they:

  • Result in more predictable bleeding patterns
  • May have benefits like acne prevention
  • Can make you periods lighter (though this is true for Opill as well)

Is Opill right for me?

It might be! Finding the best birth control for you can sometimes be a process of trial and error. Opill is relatively low risk, but might not be the best option for your schedule, budget, or body. At Hey Jane, we believe the best person to make decisions about your body is you—and giving people the option to pick up birth control from a pharmacy when they need it is a huge step forward. 

If you’re interested in Opill or want to learn more about your options, we offer consultations for the pill, the patch, the ring, the shot, and non-hormonal methods with the guidance of a provider specialized in reproductive and sexual health. See if you’re eligible here

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Written by

Alyssa Wagner (DNP, RN, APRN, WHNP-BC), Medical Director at Hey Jane

Alyssa Wagner (she/her) is a board certified women’s health nurse practitioner specializing in reproductive and sexual health care for over 14 years. She’s passionate about increasing access to health care, removing stigma, and spending time with her family.

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