'Minipill' hits the shelves, despite concerns

'Minipill' hits the shelves, despite concerns

'Minipill' hits the shelves, despite concerns

A Christian Ob/Gyn says the over-the-counter sale of birth control pills is not necessarily a good thing.

Earlier this month, stores throughout the country received deliveries of Opill, an older class of contraceptive sometimes called "minipills" that contain a single synthetic hormone, progestin, as opposed to the more popular combination estrogen and progestin pills. They are the first over-the-counter birth control pills available in U.S. stores.

Dr. Verda Hicks, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, claims studies have shown that patients, including adolescents, can effectively screen themselves to use the pills, but Dr. Jeff Barrows of the Christian Medical Association has a number of issues with it.

Barrows, Dr. Jeffrey (CMDA) Barrows

"The pregnancy rate is higher, especially if someone misses one pill or doesn't take them exactly the same time every day," he begins. "It's also concerning because a common side effect of this minipill is that women stop their period, so how are they going to know if they are pregnant? My fear is, frequently, they will not know."

Additionally, no research is available to show how safe the pills are for 12- to 14-year-olds. And since it will be as accessible as Tylenol, sexually active women and girls will not be going to doctors for a prescription.

"They won't be getting screened for sexually transmitted infections, they won't be getting screened for cervical cancer," Dr. Barrows explains. "So, there're going to be higher rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, human papilloma virus, and my great concern is that this will go unnoticed until when they come in with their first pregnancy and have all kinds of problems," including for the baby.

The drug's approval came despite some U.S. Food and Drug Administration concerns about whether women with certain medical conditions would understand that they should not take Opill.