Lawton pharmacist shares thoughts on new OTC birth control pill

Front of FDA building pictured above
Front of FDA building pictured above(kswo)
Published: Jul. 17, 2023 at 6:21 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Women seeking birth control will soon be able to purchase it over the counter.

Opill is expected to hit the shelves in early 2024.

Even though there are many different types of birth control on the market, they all had to be acquired through a doctor or nurse.

Following the FDA’s recent decision, Opill will be accessible to anyone, but it wasn’t always going to be this readily available.

“It was available as a birth control for several years, and several years ago the company that made it decided to stop making it,” said Seth Julian, the managing pharmacist with Great Plains Pharmacy. “And now they’ve come out with it to make it available over the counter.”

According to Julian, a lot of over-the-counter drugs start out as prescription-based medications

“And once they found out after years of use that they were safe and effective for people not to be under prescribers watch that they were then allowed to be over the counter,” said Julian.

Julian and the FDA said a large amount of US pregnancies are unintended, but now they hope this decision will help prevent those pregnancies by giving people easier access to contraceptives.

“People who don’t have access, or who don’t want to go to the doctor, can’t afford to go to the doctor, they can say, ‘I can take birth control.’ A parent can say, ‘I can go buy this birth control for my child, since I don’t have access to healthcare.’ Whether it’s in a real rural area, whether it’s in a large city where they just don’t know where to go,” Julian said.

However, he added that most over-the-counter medications are designed for short-term solutions.

“Moving forward, if you want to take birth control I advise you to see a physician or whatever provider you have and pick one that’s right for you at the time of your life,” said Julian.

To learn more about Opill, you can read the FDA’s article.