Opill (norgestrel) is a birth control pill that’s used to help prevent pregnancy. Opill comes as an oral tablet. The drug’s manufacturer expects it to be available over the counter in early 2024.

Opill is used to help prevent pregnancy in females* of any age who are able to become pregnant.

To learn more about Opill’s uses, see the “What is Opill used for?” section below.

* In this article, we use the term “female” to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For information about the difference between sex and gender, see this article.

Opill basics

Opill is a type of hormonal birth control. It contains the active ingredient norgestrel. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) Opill belongs to a group of drugs called progestin-only contraceptives, or minipills. It doesn’t contain estrogen.

Opill is a brand-name medication that’s expected to become available over the counter (without a prescription) in early 2024. At this time, no generic versions are available.

Whether you have health insurance or not, cost may be a factor when you’re considering Opill. What you’ll pay for Opill may depend on several things, such as the pharmacy you use.

Here are a few things to consider regarding cost:

  • Availability. Opill is expected to become available to buy over the counter (OTC) without a prescription beginning in early 2024. Sometimes, OTC drugs may cost less if your doctor prescribes them and a pharmacy charges your health insurance for them.
  • Generic form. Opill isn’t currently available as a generic drug. Generics usually cost less than brand-name drugs.

If you have questions about how to pay for Opill, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also check out this article to learn more about saving money on prescriptions.

Like most drugs, Opill may cause mild or serious side effects. The lists below describe some of the more common side effects that Opill may cause. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

Keep in mind that side effects of a drug can depend on:

  • your age
  • other health conditions you have
  • other medications you take

Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of Opill. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.

Mild side effects

Here’s a list of some of the mild side effects that Opill can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist or read Opill’s label information.

Mild side effects of Opill that have been reported include:

  • changes to your periods, such as irregular periods, spotting between periods, or your periods stopping
  • abdominal cramps or bloating
  • headache
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • increased appetite
  • breast tenderness
  • acne
  • mild allergic reaction*

Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Allergic reaction” section below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Opill can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from Opill, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects of Opill that have been reported include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Allergic reaction” section below.

Allergic reaction

Some people may have an allergic reaction to Opill.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under your skin, usually in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause difficulty breathing.

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Opill. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Below is the commonly recommended dosage for Opill. Always take the dose recommended on the drug’s label.

Form and strength

Opill is available as an oral tablet in one strength: 0.075 milligrams (mg).

Recommended dosage

The recommended dosage is one tablet taken once every day. You should continue taking a tablet every day, even if you have menstrual bleeding or spotting. When you finish one pack of Opill (28 tablets), you should start the next pack the following day without a break.

You won’t be protected from pregnancy for the first 48 hours after starting Opill. You should use a barrier form of birth control, such as condoms, every time you have sex during this time.

To learn more about Opill’s dosage, see this article.

How to take

You should take your Opill tablet at the same time every day. Swallow it with water if needed.

Questions about taking Opill

Below are some commonly asked questions about taking Opill.

Can Opill be chewed, crushed, or split? You should swallow Opill tablets whole. Opill’s manufacturer doesn’t state whether you can chew, crush, or split Opill tablets. If you have difficulty swallowing pills, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Should I take Opill with food? You can take Opill with or without food.

Is there a best time of day to take Opill? Opill can be taken at any time of day, but you should take it at the same time each day. This helps keep a consistent level of the drug in your body, which helps Opill work effectively.

What if I miss a dose of Opill? If fewer than 3 hours have passed since your regularly scheduled time for your dose of Opill, take one tablet as soon as you remember, then go back to taking your tablet at your usual time the following day. You’ll still be protected from pregnancy.

If you’ve missed your dose by more than 3 hours, take one tablet as soon as you remember, then go back to taking your tablet at your usual time. This means you might take two tablets in one day.

If you’re more than 3 hours late taking Opill or you’ve missed one or more doses, you won’t be protected from pregnancy until you’ve taken it regularly for 48 hours. To help prevent pregnancy, you should use a barrier form of birth control, such as condoms, every time you have sex for the next 48 hours.

What if I vomit or have diarrhea while taking Opill? If you vomit or have severe diarrhea within 4 hours of taking a dose of Opill, it’s possible that not enough of the drug will have been absorbed by your body. This means you may not be protected from pregnancy. You should continue taking Opill every day at your usual time. But for the next 48 hours, you should also use a barrier form of birth control, such as condoms, every time you have sex.

Will I need to take Opill long term? Opill can be used as a long-term form of birth control. You should keep taking Opill every day for as long as you want to help prevent pregnancy.

How long does Opill take to work?Opill begins working to help prevent pregnancy 48 hours after you take your first dose. But you likely won’t feel the drug working in your body. You should use a barrier form of birth control, such as condoms, every time you have sex for the first 48 hours after starting Opill.

Overdose

Do not take more Opill than the packet specifies. Taking more than this can lead to harmful effects.

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms caused by an overdose can include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • breast tenderness
  • dizziness
  • sleepiness
  • vaginal bleeding

What to do in case you take too much Opill

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much Opill. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach America’s Poison Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room.

Opill is used to help prevent pregnancy in females* of any age who are able to get pregnant. Females are usually able to become pregnant when they start having periods.

Opill is a hormonal form of birth control. It works to help prevent pregnancy by thickening the mucus in your cervix. This makes it difficult for sperm to enter your uterus (womb) and fertilize an egg.

Opill is expected to become available over the counter (without a prescription) in 2024.

Note: Opill is not an emergency contraceptive, and it will not prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

* In this article, we use the term “female” to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For information about the difference between sex and gender, see this article.

Below is important information you should consider before taking Opill.

Interactions

Taking a drug with certain medications, vaccines, foods, and other things can affect how the drug works. These effects are called interactions.

Opill can interact with several other medications. It can also interact with certain supplements as well as certain foods.

Before taking Opill, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also, tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

Drug interactions

Below is a list of medications that can interact with Opill. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Opill. If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Drug group or drug nameDrug examples
certain seizure medicationsphenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek)
carbamazepine (Tegretol, Carbatrol, others)
• phenobarbital (Sezaby)
certain antibiotics• rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane)
• rifabutin (Mycobutin)
bosentan (Tracleer)
efavirenz (Sustiva)
ulipristal (Ella, Logilia)

Other interactions

Opill can also interact with other substances.

  • Vitamins or supplements. Opill interacts with St John’s wort. Your doctor will likely recommend that you avoid taking this supplement with Opill.
  • Alcohol. Alcohol is not known to interact with Opill. It’s likely safe to consume alcohol while taking Opill.
  • Lab tests. Opill interacts with blood tests for sex hormone-binding globulin and thyroxine-binding globulin. If you have one of these blood tests, tell the healthcare professional performing the test that you’re taking Opill.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Opill is taken to help prevent pregnancy. You should not take it if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

If you become pregnant while taking Opill, there’s a risk the pregnancy could be ectopic. With an ectopic pregnancy, a fertilized egg implants outside your uterus (womb), such as in one of your fallopian tubes. If you think you could be pregnant, stop taking Opill and contact your doctor right away. Your doctor can recommend whether it’s safe to continue the pregnancy.

Opill is generally considered safe to take while breastfeeding.

Warnings

Opill can sometimes cause harmful effects in people who have certain conditions. This is known as a drug-condition interaction. Other factors may also affect whether Opill is a good treatment option for you.

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about your health history before you take Opill. Be sure to tell them if any of the following factors apply to you:

Find answers to some commonly asked questions about Opill.

How does Opill work?

Opill is a hormonal form of birth control that’s used to help prevent pregnancy. It works by thickening the mucus in your cervix, which is the passageway into your uterus (womb). This helps stop sperm from entering your uterus and fertilizing an egg. In some people, Opill may also stop the ovaries from releasing an egg each month.

Does Opill cause long-term side effects?

It’s possible. Long-term side effects include those that occur after taking the drug for a long time. They also include those that may last a long time, even after you stop taking the drug.

Examples of long-term side effects reported in studies of Opill include:

Note that if you miss a period, this can be a sign of pregnancy. If you don’t have a period for 2 months, or you think you could be pregnant, contact your doctor right away. You should also contact your doctor if your period is late and you missed one or more Opill doses in the last month.

Talk with your doctor to learn more about possible side effects of Opill and how long they may last.

How does Opill compare with Yaz?

Both Opill and drospirenone/ethinyl estradiol (Yaz) are taken to help prevent pregnancy. In addition, Yaz can be taken to treat acne or premenstrual dysphoric disorder in certain females* who are also interested in taking a birth control pill to help prevent pregnancy.

Both drugs come as oral tablets. You can buy Opill over the counter without a prescription. (It’s expected to become available in early 2024). Yaz is only available by prescription.

Opill and Yaz are both hormonal forms of birth control. Opill is a minipill that contains the progestin norgestrel. Yaz is a combination pill that contains the estrogen ethinyl estradiol and the progestin drospirenone.

Opill can be taken by most females, but because Yaz contains an estrogen, it may not be suitable for certain people.

If you have other questions about how Opill and Yaz compare, talk with your doctor. They can help you find the right form of birth control for you.

* In this article, we use the term “female” to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For information about the difference between sex and gender, see this article.

Other drugs are available that can help prevent pregnancy. If you’d like to explore an alternative to Opill, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other birth control medications that might work well for you.

Opill contains norgestrel, which is a type of hormone called a progestin. Other progestin-only pills (also called minipills) that are similar to Opill include:

  • Camila, Errin, Heather, and others, which contain norethindrone
  • Slynd, which contains drospirenone

Opill is the only birth control pill that you can buy over the counter without a prescription in the United States. It’s expected to become available in early 2024.

If you have questions about taking Opill, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Questions you may want to ask include:

  • Does Opill have similar side effects to other birth control pills?
  • Is Opill more or less effective than other forms of birth control?
  • Will Opill affect my ability to have children in the future?

To learn more about Opill, see these articles:

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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.