Your contraception guide
What should I do if I miss a pill (progestogen-only pill)?
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Methods of contraception
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- Things to consider
- Methods that may help heavy or painful periods
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- Using contraception effectively
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- The pill for men
This advice is about the progestogen-only pill (POP), or mini pill. For advice about the combined contraceptive pill, see What should I do if I miss a pill (combined pill)?
The advice for a missed POP depends on whether your pill contains desogestrel or not. You can find out if your pill is a desogestrel pill by:
- checking the packet
- checking the patient information leaflet that comes with the packet
- asking a pharmacist
Less than 3 hours late (or less than 12 hours late for a desogestrel pill)
You are still protected against pregnancy if:
- you're taking a traditional POP, such as Micronor, Norgeston or Noriday, and you're less than 3 hours late taking your pill
- you're taking a desogestrel pill, such as Cerazette or Cerelle, and you're less than 12 hours late taking your pill
What you should do:
- take the missed pill as soon as you remember
- take the next pill at the usual time
- you do not need to use extra contraception
- if you've had unprotected sex, you do not need emergency contraception
More than three hours late (or more than 12 hours late for a desogestrel pill)
You're not protected against pregnancy if:
- you're taking a traditional POP and you're more than 3 hours late taking your pill
- you're taking a desogestrel pill and you're more than 12 hours late taking your pill
What you should do:
- take a pill as soon as you remember – only take 1, even if you've missed more than 1 pill
- take the next pill at the usual time – this may mean taking 2 pills on the same day (1 when you remember and 1 at the usual time), this is not harmful
- carry on taking your remaining pills each day at the usual time
- use extra contraception such as condoms for the next two days (48 hours) after you remember to take your missed pill, or do not have sex
- if you have unprotected sex during the two days after you miss your pill, you may need emergency contraception – get advice from your GP or contraception clinic
It takes 2 days for the POP to thicken cervical mucus so that sperm cannot get through or survive. The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare advises using extra contraception for 2 days after you remember to take your pill.
The patient information leaflet that comes with your pill might say to use condoms for the next 7 days after you remember to take your pill. This is because it takes 7 days for the pill to stop ovulation.
Where to get advice
If you're not sure what to do, you can get advice from:
- a contraception (family planning) clinic
- an NHS walk-in centre
- FPA (formerly the Family Planning Association)
- a GP
- a pharmacist
Find sexual health services near you, including contraception clinics.
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Page last reviewed: 30/01/2018
Next review due: 30/01/2021