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Missed Pills (Combined Oral Contraceptive)

 
 

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Missed Pills (Combined Oral Contraceptive)

Missing pills or starting a pack late can make the pill less effective at preventing pregnancy.

Missed pills
The chance of getting pregnant after missing a pill or pills depends on:

      Purple petal    when the pills are missed    
  Purple petal   how many pills are missed  

A pill is late when you have forgotten to take it at your usual time. You have missed a pill when it is more than 24 hours since the time you should have taken it.

Missing one pill anywhere in your pack or starting the new pack one day late isn’t a problem as you will still be protected against pregnancy (known as having contraceptive cover).

However, missing two or more pills or starting the pack two or more days late (more than 48 hours late) may affect your contraceptive cover. 

In particular, if you make the seven-day pill-free break longer by forgetting two or more pills, your ovaries might release an egg and there is a risk of getting pregnant. This is because your ovaries are not getting any effect from the pill during the seven-day break.

Image of Combined Pill Packaging

What to do if you miss a pill or pills
Follow the advice below. If you are not sure what to do, continue to take your pill and use another method of contraception, such as condoms, and seek advice as soon as possible.

If you have missed one pill, anywhere in the pack:

      Purple petal    take the last pill you missed now, even if it means taking two pills in one day    
  Purple petal   continue taking the rest of the pack as usual
  Purple petal   you don’t need to use additional contraception, such as condoms
  Purple petal   take your seven-day pill-free break as normal

 If you have missed two or more pills (you are taking your pill more than 48 hours late), anywhere in the pack:

      Purple petal    take the last pill you missed now, even if it means taking two pills in one day    
  Purple petal   leave any earlier missed pills
  Purple petal   continue taking the rest of the pack as usual and use an extra method of contraception, such as condoms, for the next seven days
  Purple petal   you may need emergency contraception – see below
  Purple petal   you may need to start the next pack of pills straight away and not have a seven day break.

Starting the next pack after missing two or more pills
If there are seven or more pills left in the pack after the last missed pill:

      Purple petal    finish the pack    
  Purple petal   have the usual seven-day break

If there are fewer than seven pills left in the pack after the last missed pill:

      Purple petal    finish the pack and start the new one the next day, without having a break    

Please note there are different rules for certain types of combined pill e.g. Qlaira and combined pills with ED after their name. Please check with your supplier to make sure you know what do to if you have, or think you might have missed a pill.


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