Days could be coming when birth control is harder to get, with no-copay contraception potentially dropping off the map. Even though costs could increase, researchers say there’s no reason oral contraception should remain restricted by prescriptions. While some have been recommending over-the-counter birth control pills for years, some have worried about safety. But new research shows birth control pills are very safe and effective — especially for teens.
NPR reports that a review of birth control pill research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health makes the most comprehensive case yet for allowing over-the-counter birth control for teens. In fact, the research found birth control pills might be safer for young people, because your risk for negative side effects such as blood clots is greater if you’re older.
“There is a growing body of evidence that the safety risks are low and benefits are large,” Krishna Upadhya, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the lead author of the review, told NPR.
And when you’re young, Upadhya added, research shows you are less likely to experience some of the negative side effects of the Pill. While pills containing estrogen and progestin increase risk of a certain type of blood clot, Krishna said teens are less likely to develop that side effect and others, meaning the pill is “potentially safer the younger you are.”
With this new research, Upadhya told NPR, everyone, regardless of age, should be able to get the Pill from her local pharmacy, no prescription needed.
“These pills are safe and effective and we should reduce barriers to using them,” she said. “And teens should benefit just as adult women do.”