Chewable birth control works in a similar way to traditional birth control pills. However, a person chews these pills rather than swallowing them whole with water, making them easier to take.

Chewable birth control pills are a type of combination birth control. This means that they contain two hormones: estrogen and progestin. These hormones work together to prevent ovulation and reduce the chances of pregnancy if a person does ovulate.

The original chewable birth control pill, Femcon Fe, is no longer available, but people can use other chewable birth control pills.

People should never chew or crush regular birth control pills. Manufacturers specifically design these for taking whole with water, so crushing or chewing them may change how they work.

Read on to learn more about chewable birth control, including where to find it and how to use it.

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Chewable birth control is a type of birth control pill that a person can chew rather than swallow whole. This makes it different than most birth control pills, which manufacturers design for swallowing with water.

Companies that make chewable birth control pills design them especially for chewing or crushing. They can be useful for people who cannot swallow pills whole or dislike doing so.

Chewable birth control contains a combination of estrogen and progestin. Together, these two hormones help prevent ovulation. The pills also reduce the likelihood of an egg successfully implanting in the uterus if a person does ovulate.

There are two broad types of chewable birth control: pills that require chewing and those that a person can chew or swallow.

Some pills, such as the brand Tyblume, are safe to chew or swallow. Other chewable birth control brands include:

  • Minastrin 24 Fe
  • Wymzya Fe
  • Generess Fe
  • Layolis Fe
  • Kaitlib Fe
  • Zenchent Fe
  • Finzala Fe
  • Nexesta Fe

Some birth control pills come in both a chewable and swallowable form, so it is important to ensure that a person has the type most suitable for them. Several chewable birth control pills are also available as generics. For instance, Layolis Fe is Teva’s version of Generess Fe.

The original chewable birth control pill, Femcon Fe, is no longer available. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises that this is not because of safety or effectiveness concerns. Manufacturers often discontinue drugs that are no longer profitable or replace them with a different option.

Although a person may still be able to get Femcon Fe online or from resellers, the pills may be past the expiry date. It is safer to choose a brand that is still in production.

The main advantage of chewable birth control pills is that they can be easier to take. For people with difficulties swallowing pills, a chewable product may be more accessible and comfortable.

Unlike long-acting forms of birth control that require no pills, such as the implant, chewable birth control contains estrogen. Some people may find that they get on better with birth control that contains estrogen than they do with types that only contain progesterone.

The ingredients in chewable birth control are the same as those in traditional combined pills, which means that the effectiveness of these pills is also similar.

In a clinical trial for Tyblume, the pregnancy rate over 1 year of use was 0.84%, meaning that less than one person on average will become pregnant per year while using this form of birth control.

Chewable birth control is not for everyone. Some people may dislike the taste or find that parts of the pills become stuck in their teeth. This is potentially risky, as not swallowing the entire pill reduces the dose.

It is important to chew these pills thoroughly and to rinse the mouth with a glass of water afterward. If a person has difficulties with chewing and swallowing, a different type of birth control may be better for them.

Some chewable birth control pills require a person to drink a full glass of water straight afterward, and some require a person to have an empty stomach. This means that taking them can require some planning.

As with traditional birth control pills, chewable birth control poses some risks. Very rarely, the hormones may cause a person to develop a dangerous blood clot. This is more common in people who smoke and those over the age of 35.

All birth control pills require a doctor’s prescription because they pose some risks. It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of the birth control with a medical professional.

To start the process, a person needs to make an appointment with a doctor. Alternatively, low cost and free clinics can write a prescription. They may sometimes give out free birth control, too.

Planned Parenthood, local nonprofit health clinics, and city and county departments of health can be good options for affordable birth control. A person with insurance should check with their plan provider to see which birth control pills and pharmacies have coverage.

When a person fills their prescription, they should read the prescribing guidelines carefully for instructions on how to take the pills.

Below, we provide answers to some common questions about chewable birth control.

What does chewable birth control taste like?

Femcon Fe had a spearmint flavor, similar to some chewing gum. However, newer chewable birth control brands do not. Many users report that the pills are flavorless and slightly dry and chalky.

Does insurance cover chewable birth control?

The Affordable Care Act requires insurance plans to cover birth control. Insurance should, therefore, cover chewable birth control. However, a person might have to choose from a limited number of brands, fill their prescription at a certain pharmacy, or pay a copay.

A limited number of exceptions to the Affordable Care Act apply to people who work for employers who have religious objections to birth control.

Can you chew regular birth control pills?

No — crushing or chewing these pills may change the way they work, altering the rate at which the body absorbs them. This may make the pills less effective or increase the risk of overdose.

A person should not chew or crush regular birth control pills unless the package insert specifically states that doing so is safe.

Is there another way to take chewable birth control?

This depends on the pill brand. Some brands are safe to chew or swallow. A person should talk with a doctor about their pill preferences and then choose a brand that suits their needs.

Chewable birth control offers a birth control option for people who prefer not to swallow pills or are unable to do so. They use the same ingredients as most other combined birth control pills, offering similar benefits, risks, and effectiveness.

A person should not chew traditional birth control pills or use expired or discontinued pills. Many different brands offer chewable options, and a medical professional can help a person choose the right one.

People who find both swallowing and chewing difficult can choose from a range of other birth control options, such as implants, intrauterine devices, and injections. A doctor can offer advice on the various options.