DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — One type of birth control pill may be available over the counter for the first time as soon as this summer.

FDA advisors are now recommending that the benefits outweigh the risks. If the approval moves forward, it would not apply to all birth control pills.

FDA advisers unanimously recommended that the birth control pill Opill be made available to people over the counter.

“This would mean that they can just go and purchase it over the counter Just like they would get an ibuprofen or a Tylenol,” said Dr. Jonas Swartz, an OB-GYN at Duke.

Both he and Dr. Rachel Urrutia, an OB-GYN at UNC, said a decision to make the pills available over the counter would expand access to people who may have trouble getting to a doctor’s office for a prescription.

“Maybe pregnancy intentions change or someone gets a new partner and they need birth control pills then, and maybe they call for an appointment and there’s a wait,” said Dr. Urrutia.

If people don’t have a prescription from a doctor, pharmacists are allowed to dispense birth control pills in North Carolina after a consultation with a patient, but both doctors noted that many pharmacies don’t offer that option, and many people aren’t aware of it.

“The challenge with implementation of the pharmacy access has been training pharmacists and making sure that pharmacists have adequate infrastructure to actually prescribe,” Dr. Swartz said.

He added that consulting with a pharmacist doesn’t offer the same level of privacy as buying the pills over the counter. “There are certain patients who don’t feel comfortable doing that, don’t feel safe, don’t feel private,” he added.

The FDA is only looking at this one type of birth control pill to make available over the counter — it would not apply to others.

“This one only has the progestin component, and so it does not increase the risk of having a blood clot,” said Swartz.

“There are some other, rarer conditions where people shouldn’t even be on a progestin, but those are those are pretty rare,” said Urrutia.

She said those cases include a history of certain types of cancer and other medical issues, for which someone would already be under a doctor’s care and would likely be advised not to take birth control pills.

The FDA is expected to make a final decision on whether to approve Opill for over-the-counter use later this summer.