Thursday, November 09, 2023

Is the new birth control pill, Opill, good for you?

Answers to frequently asked questions regarding the FDA-approved over-the-counter birth control pill

Birth control pills have been used safely in the United States for more than 50 years and are only available via prescription. Just last summer, the FDA authorized Opill, the first over-the-counter daily contraceptive pill. This provides a new nonprescription alternative for avoiding pregnancy for a far larger number of people.

Opill might be accessible as early as 2024, while the specific timing and pricing remain unknown. Here's what adults, parents, and kids who are interested should know.


What exactly is Opill, and how does it work?

Opill is a progestin-only birth control pill. That is, it prevents conception by using a single hormone called progestin (or norgestrel). It operates by

  • altering ovulation to prevent monthly egg production from the ovaries.
  • cervical mucus thickening, preventing sperm from accessing an egg.
  • altering the lining of the uterus in ways that prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg.
To what extent does Opill work to prevent pregnancy?

It is contingent upon your level of consistency in taking Opill.

Adhering to a consistent daily schedule for drug consumption constitutes "perfect use." Opill is 98% effective when used properly. This implies that two or fewer people would become pregnant if 100 people took the drug exactly as prescribed. Perfectly taking a tablet might be challenging, though.

The average effectiveness of a method to prevent pregnancy when used by actual individuals in real life is called typical use. It takes into account the fact that occasionally people use the medication inconsistently, perhaps missing a dose or not taking it at the same time every day. Opill's efficacy is 91% when used as prescribed. This implies that after a year, nine out of 100 people who use Opill but don't take it as prescribed could become pregnant.

It's also critical to understand that Opill's ability to prevent pregnancy may be compromised by certain drugs. These include medications for treating seizures and migraines. This birth control pill will be sold over-the-counter, but you should check with your doctor to see whether any medications you now take could interfere with its effectiveness.

How is Opill taken?
Take one at the same time every day until the entire pack is gone.
It is important to maintain a regular time of day each and every day. With progestin-only medications such as Opill, timing is important because the drug elevates progestin levels. Progestin, however, only continues to rise for a full day following each dose. The progestin level will then go back to normal after that.
The next day, you should begin a new 28-day box of pills as soon as possible.

What occurs if a dose is missed or not taken at the scheduled time?

The pill's ability to prevent pregnancy will be diminished if you take it later than three hours.
As soon as you remember, take the missed medication.
For the next 48 hours, every time you have sex, you will need to use a backup method of birth control, like condoms.
Are teens safe to use Opill?
Most individuals who have the potential to become pregnant, including teenagers, can safely use opill. Nothing in the data suggests that teens' safety or side effects differ from those of adults.

Opill is safe for use by individuals as young as 15 years old, according to research conducted by the company. It will be accessible to anyone without regard to age.

Which birth control option is best for teenagers using it?
Not every adolescent needs to use the same birth control method. The approach that a teenager is most likely to find personally appealing and will stick with is the best one.

Opill might not be the best option for teens or anybody else who finds it difficult to take their medications at the same time each day. Thankfully, there are several solutions available to suit different needs and interests when it comes to contraception.

Visit the Center for Young Women's Health website to find out more about the many forms of contraception.

Which side effects of Opill are typical?
Medication that just contains progesterone is typically linked to minimal side effects. The most typical side effects are:
  • Unexpected vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • headache
  • Acne
  • gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, nausea, and abdominal pain; changes in appetite.
Opill does not cause cancer or difficulty conceiving in the future. Contraceptive pills that mix progesterone and estrogen do not raise the risk of blood clot development.

Will Opill alter my mood in any way?
There isn't much research on how progestin-only medications could affect mood, so this is uncertain. We do know that the majority of hormonal birth control users do not report experiencing depressive symptoms.

Thankfully, there are several options for reliable birth control. See your healthcare provider if a certain method is causing you any unpleasant side effects. You can determine together whether another form of birth control might be more effective for you.

Is it suitable for emergency contraception?
No, it isn't meant to be a last-resort method of birth control (Emergency Birth control).

Regarding STIs, what should you know?

You cannot avoid sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like syphilis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia by using this form of birth control.

Every time you have intercourse, you can lower your risk of contracting STIs by using condoms appropriately. Condoms come in two varieties: one designed for the vagina and another for the penis.

Certain STIs, including hepatitis B and the human papillomavirus (HPV), can be prevented in part by vaccination. PrEP is a medication that can help prevent HIV. For further information about the best decisions for you, ask your medical team.

What is the price and availability of Opill?
The manufacturer sets the price and schedule for the availability of the drug. The FDA approved it with the expectation that it would go on sale in early 2024. Regarding the precise date or approximate cost of the drug, no information has been made public.

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