Top Pro & Con Arguments


Women who take birth control pills without medical supervision can put themselves at risk.

Jennifer Ashton, gynecologist, stated, “It’s generally accepted knowledge that the overall health literacy of the lay population is about at the 7th-grade level,” adding that even with one-on-one counseling and explanations about how the Pill works, patients are still confused. [54]

Birth control pills do have serious and sometimes fatal contraindications, meaning not every woman should take them. When a drug is OTC, 49% of people get information about the drug from mass media, and only 27% contact their doctors with questions about OTC drugs. This lack of communication and lack of awareness of contraindications can put women at risk. [56]

Contraindications for birth control pills include women over 35 years old, and women who smoke, have a history of diabetes, heart disease, blood clots, cancer, stroke, liver disease, high blood pressure, migraines (and migraines with aura), and/or bladder disease. [57] [58]

Poppy Daniels, obstetrician-gynecologist, called OTC birth control without doctor involvement “ridiculous” and “absurd,” and stated, “My concern is that you’re basically taking women who have no counseling, no family history, no risk assessment, and they’re just getting [hormonal birth control] with no guidance. Why would you take that risk?” [59]

If the Pill is prescribed, the doctor or pharmacist can tell the patient about any possible interactions and prevent bad drug combinations. Drugs that can interfere with birth control pills include the antibiotic rifampin, many anti-HIV drugs, some anti-fungal medications, some anti-seizure drugs, the stimulant modafinil, many drugs to treat epilepsy, some medications for bipolar disorder, and many herbal remedies including flaxseed and St. John’s wort. [60] [61]

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