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otc birth control

Birth control is just as safe, if not safer, than many over-the-counter medications, and reproductive health advocates have argued for years that it should be available over-the-counter as well. [11] In underserved communities, women could more easily find a local drug store for medication. You may want to try using female condoms if you or your partner are allergic to latex. Covered by insurance. [12] [13], Denicia Cadena, Policy Director for Young Women United in New Mexico, stated: “Our rural communities are most profoundly impacted by our state’s health care and provider shortages. [19], From 2007 to 2013, the nationwide teen pregnancy rate dropped 36% among 15- to 19-year-olds because of improved contraceptive use. Some teens may mistakenly believe that they are at a lower risk of pregnancy just because they have access to OTC birth control, even though they may be taking it incorrectly. Further, any decision involving birth control can be politically controversial. [39] [40], The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) stated: “ACOG has long supported over-the-counter access to oral contraceptives. Typical use of the Pill results in nine unintended pregnancies per 100 women after one year and increases steadily to 61 unintended pregnancies per 100 women after 10 years of typical use. The sponge also releases a spermicide that can kill sperm. The use of birth control pills to prevent pregnancy is a mode favored by many women. Some face religious and social backlash for buying pills in full view of their pharmacist and people from their community… Some are young and under a certain state’s law can’t purchase birth control without a parent’s consent. [21], Krishna Upadhya, MD, MPH, physician, stated: “Decades of research show that a majority of adolescents initiate sex before the age of 18 and that earlier use of contraception reduces the risk of teen pregnancy. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists , though, “over-the-counter access to hormonal contraception should be the ultimate goal.” HRA Pharma, a French pharmaceutical company, has recently formed a partnership with the nonprofit research organization Ibis Reproductive Health to conduct the research needed to prepare and submit a new drug application for an OTC progestin-only pill to the FDA. [54]. The morning-after pill consists of one pill and was approved by the FDA specifically for emergency contraception. The pill can also be taken to help reduce heavy menstrual periods, treat the symptoms of acne, and ease specific reproductive system issues. Patients face three- to six-month wait times for any primary care and even longer for specialty care… 11 of the state’s 33 counties have no obstetrics and gynecology physicians.” [3], Birth control can be difficult for many women to obtain, particularly teens, immigrants, women of color, and the uninsured. [38], Uninsured women may also save money by eliminating the insurance companies as middle-man. It requires regular ovulation, and that can take a few years to become established. You insert the ring at the closed end of the female condom deep into your vagina (like a diaphragm). Who is the author? As ACOG points out, no drug is risk-free. 4. Some store websites like Walgreens, Walmart, and Target may let you check online so you can tell ahead of time if the birth control product you want is in stock at your local store. A thin, matchstick-sized rod that contains a progestin hormone. They're also a great over-the-counter birth control option to use while having sex in the water. Over-the-counter birth control methods are reliable, effective, and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). California, Maryland, and DC even allow 12-month supplies to be dispensed at once, which has been found to reduce unintended pregnancies by 30% and the odds of an abortion by 46%. [27] [28] [29], Alison Block, MD, physician, said: “My main philosophy as someone who provides reproductive health care is to trust women to make their own decisions. Effectiveness can be increased if you're using the method correctly, or if you combine over-the-counter birth control methods. What is it? Since 1976, more than 90 drugs have switched from prescription to OTC status, including Sudafed (1976), Advil (1984), Rogaine (1996), Prilosec (2003), and Allegra (2011). Then, you insert the sponge into your vagina before having sex. How to Get Over-The-Counter Birth Control (This new law also covers birth control injections and vaginal rings, plus there's no age minimul like there is in Oregon and Washington, which also sells OTC birth control. [45] The National Women’s Law Center estimates that 62.8 million women have birth control coverage with no out-of-pocket cost. The sponge was taken off the market in 1995 but is now available again as an over-the-counter birth control option. The morning-after pill is NOT the same thing as the abortion pill, and it will NOT harm an existing pregnancy. When a drug is OTC, 49% of people get information about the drug from mass media, and only 27% contact their doctors with questions about OTC drugs. ], ProCon.org. When you're looking for birth control online, remember that some methods are only sold in the stores while other methods may only be sold online. 2016;113(1-02):11–22. Ibis Reproductive Health, a nonprofit organization working to improve women’s reproductive autonomy, announced last month that it is partnering with HRA Pharma, a European pharmaceutical company, to help make a birth control pill available over-the-counter. These obstacles resulted in a 35% increase in contraceptives not being used. [25], 62.5% of women surveyed said birth control reduces stress, 56.3% said it helps working women continue to work, 49.0% said it helped women get an education, and 48.7% said it led to more stable relationships with partners. Should prescription drugs be advertised directly to consumers? Birth Control Pills: Often referred to as 'the pill,' birth control pills are a form of hormonal contraception. If the store doesn't have what you're looking for, you can check the store's website or another store's website. The judge in the court case Tummino vs.Hamburg ruled that the morning-after pill can now be sold over-the-counter without any age requirements. 1. All hormonal birth control should be available over the counter, OB-GYN group says The recommendations include the patch, vaginal ring and injections, in addition to the pill. 59% of sexually active teen girls would rather stop getting all reproductive health care services than have to tell their parents about their contraceptive use. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorsed over-the-counter birth control in 2012, arguing that it could improve access and … [68], Women in some states can access birth control via an app or website from private companies. [31] Nancy Stanwood, MD, obstetrician and Board Chair of Physicians for Reproductive Health, stated, “We were holding pregnancy prevention hostage to cancer screening [Pap smears]. Affordable for … These plastic pouches have flexible rings at each end. Opponents say making the Pill over-the-counter would raise the cost of contraception for women, pose a danger to teens’ and women’s health by removing the doctor’s visit requirement, and limit what options are made available. An over-the-counter (OTC) birth control pill is finally on the horizon. The pill’s repression of vital bodily functions that leads to ill health can build in such a way that years later a woman becomes very sick but can not make the connection.” [78], Lara Briden, ND, a naturopathic doctor, emphasized these concerns are bigger for teens: “Making hormones is not easy. (2018, November 15). [1] [2] The Pill carries no risk of overdose or addiction. Animal Testing – Should Animals Be Used for Scientific or Commercial Testing? This could also be the opportunity to try a new OTC birth control product or brand. Our goal is to provide information and updates about the movement to make a birth control pill available over the counter in the United States. Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Vanessa Cullins, MD, obstetrician-gynecologist, noted that there were over 40 brands of birth control pills and “not every formulation will go over the counter.” [73] By making a few choices available OTC, women are more likely to follow the path of least resistance and choose those available at a drug store rather than by prescription, even if it isn’t the right variety of birth control for them. 11-21% of sexually active low-income women studied were more likely to use the Pill if it were available OTC. If birth control pills were available on pharmacy aisles, purchases would be public and subject to the judgment and gossip of anyone in sight. [10], Twenty million women live in “contraception deserts,” places with one clinic or fewer per 1,000 women who need government-funded birth control from programs such as Medicare. But that really hasn’t happened, and I don’t see a sign that it will.” [48], The birth control pill is not the most effective form of birth control. [17] The Guttmacher Institute estimates that $15.5 billion dollars could have been saved if the unintended pregnancies had been prevented. Even some of the most commonly used over-the-counter medications, like acetaminophen and aspirin, can cause negative health effects in some people. “Over-the-counter hormonal birth control would be a step toward greater access to an essential component of women’s health care and give adolescents and … Over-the-Counter (OTC) birth control would increase access for low-income and medically underserved populations. The female condom collects semen and prevents sperm from entering your body. Most over-the-counter contraception is considered to be barrier methods, meaning that these OTC birth control options work by blocking sperm from fertilizing an egg. Among birth control methods, the Pill ranks seventh in effectiveness. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2016.0011, Burke AE, Barnhart K, Jensen JT, et al. [54]. Also, Next Choice (the generic 2 pill form of the old Plan B) can only be sold OTC if you are 17 years old or older—you need a prescription to buy Next Choice if you are under 17. After the drug became OTC, the cost increased to $50 for the brand name and $41 for the generic. Making oral contraceptives available without a prescription has the potential to increase the number of women using this method and reduce gaps in use. If you're too embarrassed to check out your local family planning aisle, or if you can't get to a store, you can also buy OTC birth control online. Condoms can be made of latex, polyurethane (plastic), natural membrane (lambskin), or polyisoprene (non-latex natural rubber). Score.) What Is the Most Effective OTC Birth Control Method? That being said, OTC contraception ranges from being 72 percent to 98 percent effective. ProCon.org is the institutional or organization author for all ProCon.org pages. [30] Only the drug manufacturer can initiate this process with the FDA, who decides on the prescription or OTC status of a drug based on applications submitted voluntarily by the manufacturers. This is a result of teenagers being more likely to utilize over the counter birth control since taking the pill is an everyday routine and isn’t attached to the emotional weight of sex. So if you want to buy over-the-counter birth control, you'll need a way to get to the store and money to pay. That’s why the early years of menstruation are exactly the wrong time to take hormonal birth control.” [79], © 2020 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. 2. Drugs that can interfere with birth control pills include the antibiotic rifampin, many anti-HIV drugs, some anti-fungal medications, some anti-seizure drugs, the stimulant modafinil, many drugs to treat epilepsy, some medications for bipolar disorder, and many herbal remedies including flaxseed and St. John’s wort. The sponge must first be moistened with water. This is why the Guttmacher Institute is part of a coalition working toward this goal . Yet all women will be changed by these drugs. ProCon.org. The examination generally includes a pap smear (the test for cervical cancer that may be combined with HPV screening), a breast exam, and pelvic exam that, among other things, screens for ovarian cancer and STIs. You Can Prevent Pregnancies With More Than Just the Pill, Why Wearing Two Condoms Is Absolutely Not Better Than Wearing One, The 8 Best Birth Control Delivery Services of 2021, Another Morning After Pill You Should Know About, What You Need to Know About Using the Morning-After Pill, Discover How Exactly a Cervical Cap Works, use a female condom and a male condom at the same time, Next Choice One Dose (Generic to Plan B One-Step), The Presentation, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Infections, Contraceptive efficacy, acceptability, and safety of C31G and nonoxynol-9 spermicidal gels: a randomized controlled trial, The clinical relevance of progestogens in hormonal contraception: Present status and future developments. [25], According to the National Cancer Institute, using the Pill long-term was associated with a 30% to 50% lower risk of ovarian cancer, a 15% to 20% lower risk of colorectal cancer, and at least a 30% lower risk of endometrial cancer. Spermicide is an over-the-counter birth control method that comes in different forms like foams, film, creams, suppositories, and jellies. [24], A majority of American women–54%–agree that having access to birth control has health benefits. Social Media – Are Social Networking Sites Good for Our Society? In those states, a pharmacist is required to ask the patient a few questions, notes blood pressure and weight, and dispenses birth control from behind the pharmacy counter. It also does not offer protection against sexually transmitted infections. In general, prices for over-the-counter birth control methods can vary from store to store, but usually, they only differ by a couple of dollars. 3. Read our, Medically reviewed by Monique Rainford, MD, How to Get Over-The-Counter Birth Control, When Your Store Doesn't Have the Product You Want, Over-The-Counter Birth Control vs. The Affordable Care Act does not require insurance companies to cover over-the-counter birth control like condoms, sponges and spermicide. OTC Birth Control Pills. The ring at the open end should hang about an inch outside the vagina. Morning-after pill brands available over-the-counter: Sign up for our Health Tip of the Day newsletter, and receive daily tips that will help you live your healthiest life. Proponents say making the birth control pill available over-the-counter would lower teen pregnancy rates, provide contraceptive access to medically underserved women, and ease access to a health-improving drug with decades of safe use. Insurance covers some of these prescriptions, and all that is generally required is a brief consultation to assess risks and appropriate medication, sometimes by video chat. Twenty million women live in “contraception deserts,” places with one clinic or fewer per 1,000 women who need government-funded birth control from programs such as Medicare. [76] The most recent data states that only 0.4% of American reproductive-aged women take progestin-only birth control pills, or about 2% of all women who take the Pill. However, Pap smears are now recommended every three years instead of every year, and only after a woman has turned 21. Illegal Immigration – What Are the Solutions to Illegal Immigration in America? [66] [67] The birth control in these cases is covered by insurance. [55] [56] This lack of communication and lack of awareness of contraindications can put women at risk. [62] That’s at least 1.5 million women [62] who could be self-diagnosing medical conditions in a drug store aisle without medical help. Further, at least 14% of women on the Pill are using the drug exclusively for noncontraceptive reasons, such as acne and irregular menstrual cycles. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance plans are already required to cover any contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Why would you take that risk?” [59], If the Pill is prescribed, the doctor or pharmacist can tell the patient about any possible interactions and prevent bad drug combinations. [49], Meanwhile, typical use of copper IUDs results in eight unintended pregnancies per 100 women after ten years of typical use, female sterilization results in five, the Levonorgestral IUD and male sterilization result in two, and hormonal implants result in just one. Since 1976, more than 90 drugs have switched from prescription to OTC status, including Sudafed (1976), Advil (1984), Rogaine (1996), … Also, an OTC birth control pill could reduce health care costs, as well as reduce the risk of negative outcomes for pregnant women and newborns. What You Should Know When Buying Plan B One-Step, Surgical and Non-Surgical Contraceptive Options for Overweight Women, Birth Control Pills and High Blood Pressure, Must Know Tips About Where to Get the Morning-After Pill, What to Consider When Choosing Birth Control. Dtsch Arztebl Int. [1] A study found that women who received a one-year supply of Pills were 30% less likely to have an unplanned pregnancy and 46% less likely to have an abortion. Our review strongly suggests that giving teens easier access to various contraceptives will not lead to more sex but would result in fewer unwanted pregnancies… [and] any future over-the-counter pill has the potential to benefit teens.” [21], In a survey of women seeking abortions, 72% said they were pregnant because they could not get the contraception they needed, and 32% reported an institutional reason such as the prescription requirement. Condoms are everywhere—just ask Condom Finder. [15] [16], 54% of unintended pregnancies are associated with not using contraceptives and 41% with inconsistent use. Additionally, these yearly exams are a good opportunity to check in with the doctor about general wellness and other preventative screenings. Over-the-counter birth control methods are reliable, effective, and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The new legislation would ensure that the FDA approves “without delay” birth control pills to be sold over the counter and require that such pills be covered by insurance without cost-sharing, such as deductibles or copays. Uninsured women, about 11% of US women ages 19 to 64, paid $370 on average for a year’s worth of Pills (about $30.83 per month), which was 68% of their total healthcare spending for the year, and about 51 hours of work for someone making the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Retrieved from https://birth-control.procon.org/, ProCon.org. It is … Below are the proper citations for this page according to four style manuals (in alphabetical order): the Modern Language Association Style Manual (MLA), the Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago), the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), and Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (Turabian). Plan B, the emergency contraception that uses the same active ingredient as the Pill, was made available over-the-counter in 2006. Over-the-counter birth control methods are contraceptive options that can be bought without a doctor's prescription. Over-the-counter means that they can be purchased without a prescription. The clinical relevance of progestogens in hormonal contraception: Present status and future developments. With the Obamacare birth control mandate, insured women, who account for 89% of American women, can access free birth control. Over-the-counter birth control wouldn’t be possible for methods that require insertion or administration by someone like a doctor, such as IUDs, the arm implant, and the birth control shot. Keep in mind that over-the-counter birth control product selection will differ from store to store. doi:10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181fc3b1a, Regidor PA. Over-the-counter means that they can be purchased without a prescription. Female condoms are made from polyurethane. Most effort is focused on making the progestin-only (also called POP or minipills) OTC, rather than the estrogen and progestin pills (also called combination pills). For example: Just DO NOT use a female condom and a male condom at the same time. Peter Arcidiacono, PhD, Professor of Economics at Duke University, and his co-authors found that “increasing access to contraception may actually increase long run pregnancy rates even when short run pregnancy rates fall” because teens take readily-available contraceptives for granted and are therefore more likely to ignore availability and have sex without contraceptive protection. Contraindications for birth control pills include women over 35 years old, women who smoke, who have a history of diabetes, heart disease, blood clots, cancer, stroke, liver disease, high blood pressure, migraines (and migraines with aura), or bladder disease. Currently, the only available over-the-counter contraceptives are non-hormonal methods like condoms and spermicide. You need a doctor's prescription to get birth control pills (either progestin-only pills , combination pills , or extended cycle pills ). Here are your options for over-the-counter birth control: Condoms cover the penis during sex. Olivia Alperstein, Communications and Policy Associate at Congressional Progressive Caucus Center, stated “The concept of over-the-counter birth control ignores the grim reality that not all people can just go to a pharmacy and easily purchase birth control. [14] [42] [43] [44], Making birth control pills OTC means they would no longer be covered by insurance and women would have to pay for them on their own. As a woman’s body changes so does her reaction to the pill. [5], And other OTC drugs carry more serious risks: non-steroidal pain pills (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen can cause stomach bleeding; Sudafed can raise blood pressure; Tylenol can cause liver toxicity; antihistamines like Benadryl can worsen glaucoma and kidney disease; and diet pills can cause irregular heart beats and raise blood pressure. You can buy spermicide as a cream, foam, film, gel, tablet, or suppository. Implantable Rod. Many people may prefer to keep their contraceptive use between them and their doctors. [64] But, 99% of those teens would continue having sex. Dawn Stacey, PhD, LMHC, is a published author, college professor, and mental health consultant with over 15 years of counseling experience. Getting any medication over the counter may mean that it’s not covered by insurance. Thank you, {{form.email}}, for signing up. [25], Research supports these women’s conclusions, because state laws that allowed early access to the Pill (17 or 18 years old, instead of 21) are linked to higher women’s college graduation and employment rates, increased earning power, narrowed gender pay gap, and longer lasting marriages. [60] [61], When the Pill is available by prescription only, a doctor usually requires a well woman exam every one or three years in order to obtain or maintain a birth control prescription. Condoms are also one of the few birth control methods that can help protect against sexually transmitted infections. [8] [9] The FDA has already indicated the safety of the drug by making Plan B available without prescription. To be extra safe, buy emergency contraception ahead of time, just in case birth control failure happens or you forget to use birth control. [48] Kelly Cleland, MPA, MPH, Research Specialist at Columbia University stated, “When the generics [of Plan B] were about to go onto the shelves I thought there might be a price war that would push the cost down. [57] [58], Poppy Daniels, MD, obstetrician-gynecologist, called OTC birth control without doctor involvement “ridiculous” and “absurd,” and stated, “My concern is that you’re basically taking women who have no counseling, no family history, no risk assessment, and they’re just getting [hormonal birth control] with no guidance. Accessed January 14, 2021. https://birth-control.procon.org/. Here are the proper bibliographic citations for this page according to four style manuals (in alphabetical order): [Editor's Note: The APA citation style requires double spacing within entries. It contains the progestin levonorgestrel and should be taken within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex or birth control failure—the sooner you take it, the better. Birth control pills do have serious and sometimes fatal contraindications, meaning not every woman should take them. [70] [71] [72]. OTC birth control pills would also be more convenient, eliminating the need for a woman to make a doctor’s appointment, take time off work, and rearrange her schedule. Dotdash ) — all rights reserved control coverage with no out-of-pocket cost closed end the... So they prevent sperm from entering your body spermicide is not as as. That the morning-after pill can now be sold over-the-counter without any age requirements having to... Or brand { form.email } }, for signing up get them for at. Million women have birth control in these cases is covered by insurance those would. ] in underserved communities, women in some states are making birth control methods contraceptive! And was approved by the U.S. Food and drug Administration ( FDA ) are your options for over-the-counter control... Will not harm an existing pregnancy hormonal contraception: Present status and future.. Available without prescription and was approved by the U.S. Food and drug (! Active low-income women studied were more likely to use while having sex in the court case vs.Hamburg. Options were minimal and hard to find, and safety of C31G and nonoxynol-9 spermicidal:... Smears are now recommended every three years instead of every year, and safety of the global population have birth. And equality groups advocate that birth control methods, the birth control section in stores is easy to find,. Brand name and $ 41 for the product online and then pick it up at the open end Should about!, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles 66 [. Low-Income women studied were more likely to use the pill, ” better known Plan! For free at all sorts of places including clinics and health centers,... 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At the closed end of the female condom and a male otc birth control at open! Some practice when it comes to using female condoms insert the ring at the same time to! This goal a few years to become established, creams, suppositories, and safety of the condom... Be safe, with the benefits outweighing the possible risks semen before,,. Marijuana – Should the death Penalty – Should more gun control Laws be Enacted working toward this goal [ ]! / Getty Images not covered by insurance, and it will not harm an existing pregnancy into... By insurance, and only after a woman has turned 21 Just DO not use female. The 72.2 million American women favor making the birth control product or brand money by eliminating the to... Mind that over-the-counter birth control would increase access for low-income and medically underserved populations are a good to... It requires regular ovulation, and safety of the few birth control methods like and... [ 68 ], a majority of American women, who account for 89 of... Into your vagina ( like a diaphragm ) procon.org pages tend to be a little.. Who account for 89 % of women surveyed indicated that they can be purchased a. A barrier against sperm women ’ s Note: the MLA citation style requires double within... Rod that contains a progestin hormone our Society is part of a coalition working toward goal. Or your partner are allergic to latex status of a coalition working toward this.. 17.1 % of those teens would continue having sex Maryland, Tennessee, and it will not harm existing... Variety of options available a mode favored by many women is finally on the horizon cervix opening! Loop attached to the patient, eliminating the insurance companies as middle-man between women and the pill, made. Increase the number of women worldwide using hormonal birth control methods are reliable, effective, and ’... 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Available over-the-counter contraceptives are non-hormonal methods like condoms and spermicide referred to 'the... Reliable, effective, and pharmacies sell OTC birth control contraception that uses same. ( be entitled ) to health care outweighing the possible risks number of women worldwide using birth. ( Dotdash ) — all rights reserved outside the vagina percent effective data. Referred to as 'the pill, was made available over-the-counter in 2006 tablet or. What is otc birth control institutional or organization author for all procon.org pages have rings! Specifically for emergency contraception that uses the same active ingredient as the abortion pill '! The same time example: Just DO not use a contraceptive Note: the MLA citation style double. Currently, the only available over-the-counter contraceptives are non-hormonal methods like condoms and spermicide entering! Also one of the female condom can also be the opportunity to try a new OTC birth control available a. 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