How to use Opill, the first OTC birth control medication

As a student health insurance plan dedicated to students, we’re continually focusing on how to improve the healthcare outcomes of our students. Wellfleet Rx – our proprietary student pharmacy solution – focuses on providing accessible and affordable medications tailored to the needs of college students.

Opill, the first over-the-counter (OTC) oral birth control medication, was made available throughout the U.S. First approved by the FDA in July of 2023,1. its widespread availability calls for education on its proper use.

In this blog, we’ll discuss how Opill works and provide education on its use. It’s our hope that you will share this information with students on your college campus so the product can be utilized safely and effectively.

What is Opill?

Opill is the first and only over-the-counter oral birth control medication, and it is in a class of medications called progestins.2 The active ingredient in Opill is norgestrel, a synthetic progestogen.2 Progestin-only oral contraceptives have been shown to be an effective and safe form of birth control when taken correctly.3 A large majority of prescription oral contraceptives are combined oral contraceptives, containing both estrogen and progestin.

Norgestrel was first approved by the FDA in 1973, so this is not a new medication. Rather, what sets it apart is that now Opill has received the green light from the FDA to provide it as a nonprescription OTC oral birth control.4 Opill is now available for purchase at major pharmacy chains across the U.S.

Opill is intended to be used for pregnancy prevention in females, but it is not intended for use as an emergency contraceptive.2 When used every day exactly as directed – at the same time each day – Opill has been shown to be 98% effective at preventing pregnancy.2

How to use Opill

Because this is the first medication of its kind available without a prescription, it’s important that students are educated on how to use Opill. Proper education helps ensure safe and effective medication use on campus.

Here are a few points to understand regarding the proper use of Opill:2

  • Opill should be taken at the same time every day, including throughout all menstrual bleeding.
  • If a tablet is taken more than 3 hours past the normal dosing time, or if the person vomits within 4 hours of the dose, a backup form of contraception, such as a condom, should be used for at least 48 hours.
  • Opill should not be used as an emergency contraceptive. It is not indicated, nor will it work, for emergency contraception.
  • Opill does not protect against the transmission of HIV or other sexually transmitted infections.

It is imperative that students know how to use Opill properly for the medication to be effective at preventing pregnancy. Read the FDA label for more information on how to use Opill.

Who cannot take Opill?

According to the FDA, if a person meets any of the following criteria, they should not take Opill:2

  • Opill should not be used in anyone who is or may be pregnant.
  • Opill should not be used in anyone with active breast cancer or a history of breast cancer.
  • Opill should not be used in anyone with abnormal uterine bleeding.
  • Opill should not be used in anyone with liver tumors or acute liver disease.
  • Opill should not be used in anyone with a hypersensitivity or allergy to any component of the medication.

Learn more about Wellfleet Rx

Created for students, Wellfleet Rx tailors our formulary to the unique needs of college students. We focus on offering our members the right medications at the right price — that’s why we provide 50+ medications with a $0.00 copay.

Connect with us to learn more about how Wellfleet can create a tailored health insurance plan and pharmacy solution for your students.


1 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (16 January 2024). Opill (0.075mg Oral Norgestrel Tablet) Information.

2 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (August 2017). Opill® Tablets.

3 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (March 2024). First Over-the-Counter Daily Contraceptive Pill Released.

4 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (13 July 2023). FDA Approves First Nonprescription Daily Oral Contraceptive.


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Wellfleet is the marketing name used to refer to the insurance and administrative operations of Wellfleet Insurance Company, Wellfleet New York Insurance Company, and Wellfleet Group, LLC. All insurance products are administered or managed by Wellfleet Group, LLC. Product availability is based upon business and/or regulatory approval and may differ among companies.