These States Offer OTC Hormonal Birth Control for Health Issues

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Besides preventing pregnancies, hormonal birth control treats a number of women’s health issues–and now more states are recognizing this important need by offering over-the-counter availability.

Woman holding a package of birth control pills
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Illinois joins 12 other states and DC in offering over-the-counter availability of hormonal birth control

At the end of July, Illinois’ governor signed a bill that will allow people in the state to receive up to a year of hormonal birth control over-the-counter. The law goes into effect starting in January 2022. Currently, 15 states and the District of Columbia provide access to over-the-counter hormonal birth control without a prescription, Today reported.

Who can get OTC birth control?

Depending on which state you live in, even those that offer over-the-counter (OTC) hormonal both control without a prescription, there may be certain restrictions. Some require a self assessment and counseling from pharmacist before receiving birth control products. Still, other states impose age restrictions, only providing OTC hormonal birth control to adults. Further, which birth control products are available also vary by state.

OTC birth control restrictions

Contraceptive care provided by pharmacists is legal in 15 states and the District of Columbia. The types of contraceptive methods pharmacist are allowed to prescribe are specified in 13 states. Pharmacists are limited or prohibited when it comes to prescribing birth control for patients seventeen years old or younger in 7 states.

At least 7 states require a patient to see a primary care provider after a specific period of time to continue receiving contraceptives from pharmacist.

See a full list of allowances and restrictions by state here.

The other benefits and uses for hormonal birth control

Hormonal birth control isn’t only for the purpose of preventing pregnancy. It can be used to treat a variety of other health concerns such as menstrual relief and cramping, acne and skin changes, iron deficiency anemia, endometriosis, prevention of ovarian cysts, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), unwanted hair growth, and lower your risk endometrial cancer, according to Web MD.

Options for hormonal birth control

There are six different available delivery systems for hormonal birth control (HBC), Hello Clue reports. They are:

Pill: 3 different types with different combinations of hormones. Taken daily.

Patch: Adhesive patch placed on skin. Replaced weekly.

Ring: Ring is placed in the vagina. Left inside for 3 weeks.

Shot: Injectable contraceptive. Administered every 3 months.

Implant: a rod inserted under the skin in the upper arm. Lasts for three years.

Hormonal IUD: Implant placed inside the uterus. Length of use varies from 3-7 years.