Opill, the first-over-the-counter birth control pill, is officially on the market. The progestin-only medication does not require a prescription from a doctor or health insurance coverage. Given the ongoing attacks on reproductive rights and the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Opill opens the door for greater birth control accessibility.

“We have an ability without having to go through a physician, [and] without having to beg your Congress members or your representatives to take care of what you need for your own sexual wellbeing and reproductive health,” Physician and co-founder of The Black OBGYN Project Rachel Bervell told 21Ninety. 

As Opill ships to stores across the country in April, Bervell shared important facts to know about the pill prior to taking it.

It’s Estrogen Free, Making it Safer For Many

Doctors urge some people with predisposed health conditions to avoid taking birth control. Most birth control pills contain a combination of estrogen and progestin. Medical professionals also advise people that experience blood clots, uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes and other health conditions to stray away from using the combination pill.

Unlike some of the other birth control pills on the market, Opill only contains progestin. By being free of estrogen, Opill does not have many of the extreme side effects typically found in birth control pills with estrogen. Tests have proved that the pill is safe with mild side effects. Bervell said that the FDA-approved, over-the-counter pill is “more open and available to people.”

“It’s safe to use for most people,” Bervell said. “People who may have migraines or other comorbidities might not be able to use a regular birth control pill.”

The Most Effective Contraceptive

In comparison to other contraceptives, such as condoms, Opill’s effectiveness is very high, with it being 98 percent. It is important to note that it’s most effective when taken every day at the same time. 

“Even for folks who take the pill outside of the window of time that it’s supposed to be taken, it goes down to around 92 percent,” Bervell said. “That’s still super effective in the grand scheme of things.”

If a day is missed or the pill is taken outside of the three hour recommended window, the progestin-only pill loses its effectiveness to prevent pregnancy. Bervell urged people to take their missed pill as soon as they remember in order to remain on track.

No Prescription Required

A doctor does not need to write a prescription in order for someone to use Opill. Although the pill may be new to the United States, Bervell noted that over-the-counter birth control is already available in over 100 countries. The U.S. is the latest nation to join the long list of countries. 

It’s Cost Effective

The retail price for Opill currently starts at $19.99 across the country. For a three month pack, it costs $49.99. For those interested in a six month pack supply, it is available to purchase for $89.99. People also can buy Opill in states that have abortion bans.  

It’s Not an Emergency Contraception

Opill is different from taking emergency contraceptives, like Plan B. Whereas Plan B works shortly after consumption, Opill starts working within 48 hours. People can start the birth control pill immediately after taking certain emergency contraceptives. However, medical professionals don’t recommend taking Opill if using a prescribed emergency contraception, such as Ella.