January 3, 2024
Opill pros, cons, and other important facts to determine if it’s the right birth control method for you.
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.
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.
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 recently approved for over-the-counter sales, it has been available with a prescription for decades.
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.
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:
Opill will be available 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, three, or six-month packs) to stock. 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 early 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.
It’s unclear at the moment. Once Opill hits shelves (estimated in early 2024), retailers will provide more information on cost depending on which supply option (one, three, or six-month packs) they stock. 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.