HRA Pharma has submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prescription to over-the-counter (OTC) switch of Opill®, a progestin-only daily birth control pill. If approved, Opill would be the first OTC oral contraceptive available in the US.

Opill is a progestin-only contraceptive pill that contains 0.075 mg of norgestrel, a single active steroid ingredient. Progestin-only pills like Opill have been shown to be effective for the prevention of pregnancy and are safe for most women to use.

The contraceptive works by suppressing ovulation in approximately half of the cycles in users, thickening the cervical mucus to inhibit sperm penetration, lowering the midcycle LH and FSH peaks, slowing the movement of the ovum through the fallopian tubes, and altering the endometrium.


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In 8 US clinical studies with Opill, 2173 women completed at least 1 cycle and 648 completed at least 13 cycles providing a total of 21,856 28-day cycles of exposure in women aged 15 to 49 years. The pregnancy rate was reported to be approximately 2 per 100 women-years.

“This historic application marks a groundbreaking moment in contraceptive access and reproductive equity in the US,” said Frédérique Welgryn, Chief Strategic Operations and Innovation Officer at HRA Pharma. “Moving a safe and effective prescription birth control pill to OTC will help even more women and people access contraception without facing unnecessary barriers.”

Medical organizations, such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Family Physicians have all expressed support of OTC access for oral hormonal contraceptives.

References

  1. Perrigo’s HRA Pharma submits application to FDA for first-ever OTC birth control pill. News release. Perrigo Company plc. Accessed July 11, 2022. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/perrigos-hra-pharma-submits-application-to-fda-for-first-ever-otc-birth-control-pill-301583602.html
  2. Opill. Package insert. HRA Pharma; 2017. Accessed July 11, 2022.  https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/017031s035s036lbl.pdf

This article originally appeared on MPR