OTC Contraception Hits Shelves


Opill is a nonprescription, progestin-only contraceptive pill, with nearly 50 years of use and data supporting the safety and effectiveness of progestin-only pills.

Although Women's History Month has passed, history continues to be made as the first FDA-approved OTC hormonal birth control is expected to hit shelves any week now. Opill is a nonprescription, progestin-only contraceptive pill, with nearly 50 years of use and data supporting the safety and effectiveness of progestin-only pills.1 The OTC availability is hotly anticipated, and experts hope it will improve access for patients facing barriers to receiving prescription-only contraceptives.

Pharmacy Drugstore Checkout Cashier Counter | Image Credit: Gorodenkoff - stock.adobe.com

Image Credit: Gorodenkoff - stock.adobe.com

According to the FDA, nearly half of the 6.1 million pregnancies in the US each year are unintended. Importantly, unintended pregnancies are linked with negative maternal and perinatal outcomes.1

One of this month’s feature articles, written by Kathleen Kenny, PharmD, RPh, reviews key data and counseling points for Opill, as well as counseling points for other contraceptive methods in which patients might be interested. Ensuring that patients have the most appropriate contraceptive method for their unique needs is a crucial role pharmacists can fill, particularly with the introduction of this OTC option.

The second feature article this month, written by Associate Editor Ashley Gallagher, tackles a different but no less important topic: a gap in Medicaid with drastic impacts for individuals involved in the justice system. The Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy “prevents federal matching funds from paying for health care for those who are justice involved,” Gallagher writes. When those individuals are released from prison, they can face significant gaps in care, leading to lapses in treatment.2 However, Gallagher reviews a new Medicaid waiver that could address these gaps in care.

Elsewhere in this issue, author Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh, PACS, discusses the important role pharmacists can play in fall prevention, particularly for older patients. Performing medication therapy reviews and screening patients are steps to decrease fall risk, Gershman writes.

This month’s Pharmacist Spotlight features Christian Hartman, PharmD, MBA, FSMSO, who comes from a long line of pharmacists and whose daughter is following in his and his wife’s footsteps at pharmacy school. Seeing how pharmacy has changed through the generations has given Hartman a unique perspective, although he says pharmacists are always united by their compassion, empathy, and community engagement.

Thank you for reading.

  1. FDA approves first nonprescription daily oral contraceptive. News release. FDA. July 13, 2023. Accessed March 18, 2024. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-nonprescription-daily-oral-contraceptive
  2. Incarceration effects on Medicaid status. Prescription Drug Abuse Policy System. Updated June 1, 2023. Accessed March 18, 2024. https://pdaps.org/datasets/medicaid-funded-mat-for-justice-involved-persons-1565019237
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