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Home / Contraception / What if I miss a pill?

What if I miss a pill?

Everything on what counts as a missed pill and what to do

You're not alone if you have forgotten to take your oral contraceptive pill. In fact, research shows that as many as one in three women miss at least one pill every month for a variety of reasons.

Contraceptive pills are a safe and effective method of contraception, but it does require you to follow a schedule. If you miss a pill, you're at a risk of becoming pregnant, so it is important to understand what counts as a missed pill, how to avoid missing one and how to take appropriate action.

Combined pill pack with a calendar on top of a material with plaid (tartan) pattern

Depending on the type of pill you're taking and how many you’ve missed, instructions will differ regarding what to do and how to get back on track. Read on to find out what to do if you miss a pill and how to remain protected from pregnancy in the meantime.

What counts as a missed pill?

Taking the pill too late

Any pill that you do not take on your normal schedule can be considered as late. If you’re only late taking it (i.e. you’ve not exceeded the below timeframes), you will remain protected from pregnancy and can get back to your normal schedule. If you do not take the pill within these time frames, you are considered to have missed the pill.

If you’re taking a traditional progestogen-only pill, such as Micronor, Noriday and Norgeston, you will remain protected from pregnancy provided you take the pill no more than 3 hours from your normal schedule.

For desogestrel progestogen-only pills, such as Cerazette Aizea, Cerelle and Feanolla, the pregnancy protection window is extended to 12 hours, and any pill not taken within that timeframe will put you at risk of pregnancy.

For combined contraceptive pills, such as Femoden, Femodette, Logynon, Marvelon, Mercilon, Microgynon, Yasmin, Brevinor, Ovranette, Cilest and Loestrin, the pill should be effective in protecting against as long as you take the pill within 24h of your normal schedule. Some combined pills however, have a 12-hour window. Zoely and Qlaira are examples of this.

You should always refer to the patient information leaflet to find out about timeframes specific to the pill you’re taking.

Vomiting or diarrhoea

If you experience any vomiting within three hours of taking the combined pill, or two for the progestogen-only-pill, this could indicate that the pill has not been absorbed properly, and thus should be treated as a missed pill (if a replacement pill has not been taken within the correct timeframes). Severe diarrhoea over 12-24 hours, or lasting for days, should also be treated as a missed pill.

Taking certain medicines

Certain enzyme-inducing medications may also interfere with the effectiveness of the pill, such as:

  • rifampicin-like antibiotics, including rifampicin and rifabutin
  • certain antifungals such as griseofulvin or ketoconazole
  • herbal remedies like St John’s wort
  • certain antiretroviral medications for HIV
  • some anti-epileptic drugs

Use our interactive tool below on what to do if you miss one or multiple pills in one month (menstrual cycle). Simply click to begin.

Missed contraception, what should I do?

You may be at risk of pregnancy. Please see your own doctor for advice and follow-up.

You are still fully protected, as long as you:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can.

2) Continue the pack as normal.

You are still fully protected, as long as you:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can.

2) Continue the pack as normal.

You are still fully protected, as long as you:

1) Take the missed pill and take the active (21) pills as per the normal schedule.

2) Skip the pill-free break.

3) Start the new pill pack straight away.

If your pill pack contains 21 tablets, your 4th week should be a pill-free week if you have not chosen to skip it. This means you should still be fully protected, as long as you:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can.

2) Continue the rest of the pack as normal.

You may be at risk of pregnancy. Please see your own doctor for advice and follow-up.

The combined pill may not be as effective. You should follow the below advice:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can.

2) Continue the rest of the pack as normal. You may need to take two pills in one day.

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex for the following 7 days.

If you vomited within 3-4 hours of taking the pill, you should take a new pill no longer than 24 hours before your usual pill time. As long as you are not sick again, you should still be protected against pregnancy. If you are sick again or you do not take a new pill, your contraception will not be effective. If that is the case, retake the quiz and follow the advice for a missed pill.

You should still be protected against pregnancy. Take your next pill as per your usual schedule.

You should still be protected against pregnancy. Take your next pill as per your usual schedule.

If you have had severe diarrhoea for more than 24 hours, the pill may not have been fully absorbed and therefore may not be as effective. You should treat every 24 hours of severe diarrhoea as a missed pill. Retake the quiz and follow the advice for a missed pill.

You may be at risk of pregnancy. Please see your own doctor for advice and follow-up.

You are still fully protected, as long as you:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can.

2) Continue the pack as normal.

You are still fully protected, as long as you:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can.

2) Continue the pack as normal.

You are still fully protected, as long as you:

1) Take the missed pill and take the active (21) pills as per normal schedule.

2) Skip the inactive (placebo) pills / the pill-free break.

3) Start the new pill pack straight away.

If you missed an inactive pill (placebo), in the 4th week of your cycle, you will still be protected from pregnancy.

You may be at risk of pregnancy. Please see your own doctor for advice and follow-up.

The combined pill may not be as effective. You should follow the below advice:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can.

2) Continue the rest of the pack as normal. You may need to take two pills in one day.

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex for the following 7 days.

If you vomited within 3-4 hours of taking the pill, you should take a new pill no longer than 24 hours before your usual pill time. As long as you are not sick again, you should still be protected against pregnancy. If you are sick again or you do not take a new pill, your contraception will not be effective. If that is the case, retake the quiz and follow the advice for a missed pill.

You should still be protected against pregnancy. Take your next pill as per your usual schedule.

You should still be protected against pregnancy. Take your next pill as per your usual schedule.

If you have had severe diarrhoea for more than 24 hours, the pill may not have been fully absorbed and therefore may not be as effective. You should treat every 24 hours of severe diarrhoea as a missed pill. Retake the quiz and follow the advice for a missed pill.

The combined pill may not be as effective. If intercourse took place in the week prior, the possibility of a pregnancy should be considered. Contact a doctor for advice and consider using an emergency contraceptive method.

You should keep these key points about taking this pill in mind:

1) The more 'white active tablets' are missed and the closer the missed tablets are to the 4 yellow placebo tablets, the higher the risk of pregnancy.

2) 7 days of uninterrupted 'active tablet'-taking are required to attain adequate protection against pregnancy. If you have trouble remembering to take your pill consistently, you should speak to your doctor for advice.

You are still fully protected, as long as you:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can.

2) Continue the pack as normal.

Provided you have only missed one pill and taken the pills correctly the week prior, you should still be protected against pregnancy.

You should:

1) Take the missed pill or start a new pill pack as soon as you can.

2) Continue the rest of the pack as normal. You may need to take two pills in one day.

If you have missed more than 1 tablet or have not taken the pills consistently the week pior, you should use a barrier contraceptive method for the following 7 days.

If you have missed a pill in the last week of active tablets, the risk of pregnancy is higher. You should still be protected if you have taken the active pills uninterrupted the 7 days before and you take the following advice:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can.

2) Continue the rest of the pack as normal. You may need to take two pills in one day.

If you have missed more than 1 tablet or have not taken the pills consistently the week prior, you should use a barrier contraceptive method for the following 7 days.

If you missed one of the last 4 pills of the pill pack, it should have no impact as these are hormone-free pills. You should:

1) Dispose of the missed pill and take the next scheduled pill at the correct time, ensuring you don't go longer than 4 days before you start a new pack with active pills.

2) You can also start a new pill pack straight away. This changes the first day of your cycle.

If you had sex the week before missing your pill, you may be at risk of pregnancy. Contact your doctor for advice and consider using an emergency contraceptive method. You should also follow the below advice:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can.

2) Continue the rest of the pack as normal. You may need to take two pills in one day.

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following 7 days.

The combined pill may not be as effective. You should follow the below advice:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can.

2) Continue the rest of the pack as normal. You may need to take two pills in one day.

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following 7 days.

If you vomited within 3-4 hours of taking the pill, you should take a new pill no longer than 24 hours before your usual pill time. As long as you are not sick again, you should still be protected against pregnancy. If you are sick again or you do not take a new pill, your contraception will not be effective. If that is the case, retake the quiz and follow the advice for a missed pill.

You should still be protected against pregnancy. Take your next pill as per your usual schedule.

You should still be protected against pregnancy if you experienced a few episodes of diarrhoea in a day/for less than 24 hours. Take your next pill as per your usual schedule. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.

If you have had severe diarrhoea for more than 24 hours, the pill may not have been fully absorbed and therefore may not be as effective. You should treat every 24 hours of severe diarrhoea as a missed pill. Retake the quiz and follow the advice for a missed pill.

If you have had severe diarrhoea for more than 24 hours, the pill may not have been fully absorbed and therefore may not be as effective. You should treat every 24 hours of severe diarrhoea as a missed pill. Retake the quiz and follow the advice for a missed pill.

You may be at risk of pregnancy. Please see your own doctor for advice and follow-up.

The protection against pregnancy will not be reduced if it has been less 12 hours. But, you should still take the following advice to ensure protection:

1) Take the tablet as soon as you remember.

2) Then take the next tablets at the usual time.

You may be at risk of pregnancy. Please see your own doctor for advice and follow-up.

The protection against pregnancy will be reduced. You should follow the below advice:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can.

2) Continue the rest of the pack as normal (at your normal time). You may need to take two pills in one day.

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following 9 days.

The protection against pregnancy may be reduced. For multiphasic pills, the advice on missed pills will depend on where in the cycle you are, and on which pill brand you are taking. Follow the advice below:

1) Always familiarise yourself with the instructions in the patient information leaflet (PIL) that comes with your pill packs.

2) Take note of when in your cycle you missed your pill - the advice will differ based on this.

  • 2.1 At the beginning of your cycle you should take the missed pill and continue taking the pill as per the normal schedule. You should use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex the following 9 days to ensure protection against pregnancy.
  • 2.2 If the missed pill was towards the end of your cycle you may be advised to skip the pill and start a new cycle (take the 1st pill of a new pill pack).

If you forget to take an inactive/placebo pill (the last pills in the pill pack), you do not need to take them later, as they do not contain active substances. But you should throw away the white tablet(s) you forgot to take, so that you do not prolong the period of inactive tablets. Prolongation may increase the risk of pregnancy. Continue to take the next tablet at the usual time. This is only relevant if you are taking a multiphasic pill with 28 pills (not 21).

If you vomited within 3 hours of taking the pill, you should take a new pill no longer than 24 hours after your normal pill time. If you are sick again or you do not take a new pill, your contraception will not be effective. If that is the case, retake the quiz and follow the advice for a missed pill.

You should still be protected against pregnancy. Take your next pill as per your usual schedule.

If you have had severe diarrhoea for more than 24 hours, the pill may not have been fully absorbed and therefore may not be as effective. You should treat every 24 hours of severe diarrhoea as a missed pill. Retake the quiz and follow the advice for a missed pill.

If you are less than 12 hours late, take the missed tablet as soon as possible, even if this means taking 2 tablets on the same day. This will ensure that contraceptive protection is maintained.

If you have missed a pill in the first week of your cycle, you should:

1) Take the last missed tablet as soon as possible and then continue to take the rest of the tablets in the normal manner.

2) Use extra contraceptive protection, such as a condom, or refrain from sex, for the next 7 days.

3) If you had sex in that 1st week (without additional contraception), you could become pregnant. Contact your doctor for advice as soon as possible. They may recommend you use emergency contraception. You should still continue taking your pill as normal.

If you are late by more than 12 hours, take the last missed tablet as soon as possible and then continue to take the rest of the tablets in the normal manner. In addition, use extra contraceptive protection, such as a condom for the next 7 days.

If you have fewer than seven tablets in your blister strip after you have missed taking a dose, you should:

1) Complete the blister strip and start the next blister strip without a break.

This will give you protection from when you took the last missed tablet. You may not have a period until the end of two blister strips, but this will not harm you. You may also have some bleeding on days when you take the tablets.

If you vomited within 3 hours of taking the pill, you should take a new pill no longer than 24 hours after your normal pill time. If you are sick again or you do not take a new pill, your contraception will not be effective. If that is the case, retake the quiz and follow the advice for a missed pill.

You should still be protected against pregnancies. Take your next pill as per your usual schedule.

If you have missed more than one pill, you should:

1) Take the most recently missed pill and skip any previously missed pills.

2) Take your next pills as normal (this could mean taking two pills in one day)

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following 7 days.

4) If you had sex in that 1st week (without additional contraception), you could become pregnant. Contact your doctor for advice as soon as possible. They may recommend you use emergency contraception. You should still continue taking your pill as normal.

If you have missed more than one pill, you should:

1) Take the most recent missed pill (skip any previously missed pills)

2) Take your next pills as normal (this could mean taking two pills in one day)

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following 7 days.

If you missed a pill and have less than 7 pills left of your pack, you should:

1) Take the most recent missed pill (skip any previously missed pills)

2) Take your next pills as normal (this could mean taking two pills in one day)

3) When you finish the strip of pills, start the next strip the next day without a break.

4) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following 7 days.

5) If you do not have a withdrawal bleed after you have finished the second strip, do a pregnancy test before starting another strip.

The desogestrel pill may not be as effective. The more pills you forget to take, the less effective your contraception is. You should follow the below advice:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can

2) Continue the rest of the pack as normal (at your normal time). You may need to take two pills in one day.

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following 2 days.

You are still fully protected, as long as you:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can (as long as it is taken within 12 hours of your normal time).

2) Continue the pack as normal.

The desogestrel pill may not be as effective. The more pills you forget to take, the less effective your contraception is. You should follow the below advice:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can

2) Continue the rest of the pack as normal (at your normal time). You may need to take two pills in one day.

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following 2 days.

You may be at risk of pregnancy. Please see your own doctor for advice and consider using an emergency contraceptive. Please note you should continue taking the pill as normal if you have used emergency contraception.

The desogestrel pill may not be as effective. The more pills you forget to take, the less effective your contraception is. You should follow the below advice:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can

2) Continue the rest of the pack as normal (at your normal time). You may need to take two pills in one day.

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following 2 days.

If you vomited within 3 hours of taking the pill, you should take a new pill no longer than 12 hours after your normal pill time. If you are sick again or you do not take a new pill, your contraception will not be effective. If that is the case, retake the quiz and follow the advice for a missed pill.

You should still be protected against pregnancy. Take your next pill as per your usual schedule.

You should still be protected against pregnancy. Take your next pill as per your usual schedule.

If you have had severe diarrhoea for more than 24 hours, the mini pill may not have been fully absorbed and therefore may not be as effective. You should treat every 24 hours of severe diarrhoea as a missed pill. Retake the quiz and follow the advice for a missed pill.

Your contraception may not be as effective. You should follow the below advice:

1) Take the last missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can.

2) Continue the rest of the pack as normal (at your normal time). You may need to take two pills in one day.

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following 2 days.

You will not be protected against pregnancy if you have missed more than 2 pills. Unless a pregnancy can be ruled out, you should stop taking it until it can be confirmed (e.g. from a pregnancy test). If pregnancy can be ruled out, follow the advice below:

1) Continue taking the pill where you left off (or start a new pill pack).

2) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following 2 days.

3) After seven days of taking the pill at a regular time, you will be protected again.

You are still fully protected, as long as you:

1) Take the pill as soon as you can (no later than 3 hours from your normal time)

2) Continue the pack as normal.

Your contraception may not be as effective. The more pills you forget to take, the less effective your contraception is. You should follow the below advice:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can.

2) Continue the rest of the pack as normal (at your normal time). You may need to take two pills in one day.

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following 2 days.

You may be at risk of pregnancy. Please see your own doctor for advice and consider using an emergency contraceptive. Please note you should continue taking the pill as normal if you have used emergency contraception.

Your contraception may not be as effective. The more pills you forget to take, the less effective your contraception is. You should follow the below advice:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can.

2) Continue the rest of the pack as normal (at your normal time). You may need to take two pills in one day.

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following 2 days.

If you vomited within 2 hours of taking the pill, you should take a new pill no longer than 3 hours after your normal pill time. If you are sick again or you do not take a new pill, your contraception will not be effective. If that is the case, retake the quiz and follow the advice for a missed pill.

You should still be protected against pregnancy. Take your next pill as per your usual schedule.

You should still be protected against pregnancy. Take your next pill as per your usual schedule.

If you have had severe diarrhoea for more than 24 hours, the mini pill may not have been fully absorbed and therefore may not be as effective. You should treat every 24 hours of severe diarrhoea as a missed pill. Retake the quiz and follow the advice for a missed pill.

Your contraception may not be as effective. You should follow the below advice:

1) The more pills you have missed, the more the effect against pregnancy is reduced.

2) Take the last missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can.

3) Continue the rest of the pack as normal (at your normal time). You may need to take two pills in one day.

4) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following 7 days.

5) If this happened in the 1st week of the cycle (one or more of the first 7 pills), and you had sex the week before, you may be pregnant. Speak to your doctor for advice.

You are still fully protected, as long as you:

1) Take the pill as soon as you can (no later than 24 hours from your normal time).

2) Continue the pack as normal.

Your contraception may not be as effective. The more pills you forget to take, the more the effecicacy reduced. You should follow the below advice:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can.

2) Continue the rest of the pack as normal (at your normal time). You may need to take two pills in one day.

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following 7 days.

You should still be protected against pregnancy as long as you:

1) Take the missed pill and take the rest of the active pills as per normal schedule (24 pills).

2) Skip the 4 inactive (placebo) pills and start the new pill pack straight away.

You will now have a different start day of your cycle.

If you missed one of the last 4 pills of the pill pack it should have no impact (as these are hormone-free pills). You should:

1) Dispose of the missed pill and take the next scheduled pill at the correct time.

2) Be aware that only a specific type of mini pill brands contain inactive pills, and these should be clearly indicated and have a different colour to the rest of the pills (containing hormones). The instructions will be different if you have missed an active pill.

You may be at risk of pregnancy. Please see your own doctor for advice and follow-up. They may suggest you use a form of emergency contraception. You can continue taking your pills as normal if you have used an emergency contraception. You should also use a barrier method (such as a condom) if you have sex over the next 7 days.

Your contraception may not be as effective. The more pills you forget to take, the more the effecicacy reduced. You should follow the below advice:

1) Take the missed pill or start the new pill pack as soon as you can.

2) Continue the rest of the pack as normal (at your normal time). You may need to take two pills in one day.

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following 7 days.

If you vomited within 3-4 hours of taking the pill, you should take a new pill no longer than 24 hours after your normal pill time. If you are sick again or you do not take a new pill, your contraception will not be effective. If that is the case, retake the quiz and follow the advice for a missed pill.

You should still be protected against pregnancy. Take your next pill as per your usual schedule.

If you experienced severe diarrhoea within 3 hours of taking the pill, you should take a new pill as soon as you can, and after no longer than 24 hours than your normal pill time. As long as you are feeling better and do not continue having diarrhoea, you should still be protected against pregnancy.

If you had severe diarrhoea within 3-4 hours of taking your pill and you have not taken a new one (within 24 hours of the normal pill time), or continue to have diarrhoea, you may not be protected. Retake this quiz and follow the advice for a missed pill.

You should still be protected against pregnancy. Take your next pill as per your usual schedule.

If you have had severe diarrhoea for more than 24 hours, the pill may not have been fully absorbed and therefore may not be as effective. You should treat every 24 hours of severe diarrhoea as a missed pill. Retake the quiz and follow the advice for a missed pill.

On rare occasions, the contraceptive vaginal ring can break. Vaginal damage has been reported in connection with the ring breaking. If you discover that your ring has broken, follow the below advice:

1) Dispose of that ring and insert a new ring as soon as possible.

2) Use additional contraception (eg a male condom) for the next 7 days.

3) Contact your doctor if you had intercourse before you discovered that the ring was broken.

If you are being sick (vomiting) or have diarrhoea, the contraceptive ring is still effective (unlike when you are taking the pill).

If you are being sick (vomiting) or have diarrhoea, the contraceptive ring is still effective (unlike when you are taking the pill).

If your ring-free break was no longer than 7 days, you are still protected from pregnancy. You should follow the below advice:

1) Put the new ring in as soon as possible (at your normal insertion time)

2) Replace the ring as per your normal schedule (1 ring should be replaced every seven days, at the same time)

If the ring-free break was longer than 7 days, you may not be protected against pregnancy. The longer the ring-free break lasts, the higher the risk of becoming pregnant. Follow the below advice:

1) Insert a new ring as soon as you remember.

2) Use additional contraception (such as a male condom) if you have intercourse in the next 7 days.

3) If you had intercourse during the ring-free break, there is a possibility that you could be pregnant. Talk to your doctor immediately and consider using a form of emergency contraception.

If the ring has been out of the vagina for less than 3 hours, it will still protect you from pregnancy. You should follow the below advice:

1) Wash the ring in cold or lukewarm water (do not use hot water).

2) Put the ring back in as soon as possible.

3) Replace the ring as per your normal schedule (1 ring should be replaced every seven days, at the same time).

You may not be protected against pregnancy. Take a pregnancy test and consult a doctor before inserting a new ring.

If the ring has been out of the vagina for more than 3 hours, you may not be protected against pregnancy. You should:

1) Wash the ring in cold or lukewarm water (do not use hot water)

2) Reinsert the ring into the vagina as soon as you remember, and leave the ring in place without interruption for at least 7 days.

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following seven days.

4) If you are in your 1st week and you had intercourse in the previous 7 days, there is a possibility that you could be pregnant. In this case, you must contact your doctor.

You may not be protected against pregnancy. You should dispose of that ring and choose one of the following two possibilities:

1) Insert a new ring immediately.

2) This will start the next 3-week period with the ring.

3) You may not have a period, but breakthrough bleeding and spotting may occur.

OR

1) Do not insert a new ring.

2) Have a period first and insert a new ring no later than 7 days from the time the previous ring was removed or fell out.

3) You should only choose this option if you have used NuvaRing continuously for the last 7 days.

If you are being sick (vomiting) or have diarrhoea, the contraceptive patch is still effective (unlike when you are taking the pill).

If you are being sick (vomiting) or have diarrhoea, the contraceptive patch is still effective (unlike when you are taking the pill).

Follow the below advice to ensure you are still protected:

1) Try to attach it again or put on a new transdermal patch immediately (so it has been off for less than 24 hours).

2) Use a new patch if the other one is no longer sticky, has stuck together or to something or if it's fallen off before (do not attempt to use tape or wraps to stick the old one back on).

3) Your "patch change day" must remain unchanged.

The patch may not be as effective. The longer you have been without the patch, the less effective your contraception will be. You should follow the advice below:

1) Immediately start a new 4-week cycle by applying a new transdermal patch.

2) You now have a new day 1 and a new "patch change day".

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following seven days (the 1st week of the new cycle).

The patch may not be as effective. The longer you have been without the patch, the less effective your contraception will be. You should follow the advice below:

1) Immediately start a new 4-week cycle by applying a new transdermal patch.

2) You now have a new day 1 and a new "patch change day".

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following seven days (the 1st week of the new cycle).

Follow the below advice to ensure you are still protected:

1) Try to attach it again or put on a new transdermal patch immediately (so it has been off for less than 24 hours).

2) Use a new patch if the other one is no longer sticky, has stuck together or to something or if it's fallen off before (do not attempt to use tape or wraps to stick the old one back on).

3) Your "patch change day" must remain unchanged.

The patch may not be as effective. The longer you have been without the patch, the less effective your contraception will be. You should follow the advice below:

1) Immediately start a new 4-week cycle by applying a new transdermal patch.

2) You now have a new day 1 and a new "patch change day".

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following seven days (the 1st week of the new cycle).

The patch may not be as effective. The longer you have been without the patch, the less effective your contraception will be. You should follow the advice below:

1) Immediately start a new 4-week cycle by applying a new transdermal patch.

2) You now have a new day 1 and a new "patch change day".

3) Use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following seven days (the 1st week of the new cycle).

If you forget to put on the transdermal patch in your cycle's 1st week, you may have a particularly high risk of becoming pregnant. Follow the advice below:

1) You must use additional non-hormonal contraception for one week (seven days).

2) Put on the first patch of the new cycle as soon as you remember.

3) You now have a new day 1 and a new "patch change day".

If you are on the 4th week of the cycle, you should still be protected against pregnancies. If you left the patch on for too long (forgot to remove it), take it off as soon as you remember. Follow the below advice to stay protected:

1) Start the next cycle on the usual "patch change day", the day after day 28.

2) Continue replacing them weekly, on the same day at the same time.

3) There is no need for additional contraception.

You should still be protected, provided you follow the below advice:

1) Attach a new patch as soon as you remember (within 48 hours).

2) Replace the following patch on the usual "patch change day".

3) No additional contraception is necessary.

If you forget to change the patch for more than 2 days, you can become pregnant. The longer you have been without the patch, the lower the effectiveness will be. You should follow the advice below:

1) Immediately start a new 4-week cycle by applying a new patch.

2) You now have a new day 1 and a new "patch change day".

3) You must use a barrier contraceptive method if you have sex, for the following seven days (1st week of cycle).

What if I miss a combined pill?

If you’ve missed one combined pill (more than 12/24h late), you should:

  1. take the late or missed pill as soon as possible; and
  2. continue taking the pill at the usual time, even if it means taking two pills on the same day or relatively close together
  3. you should skip the break if this happened in the third week of your cycle
  4. use a barrier contraception method if it happened in your cycle’s first week

No backup birth control is needed if you follow the above steps and the pill you missed wasn’t in the first week of your cycle (first seven pills of your pack). If you missed a combined pill in the first week of the cycle and you had unprotected sex you may need emergency contraception or speak to your doctor for advice. If you have unprotected sex and suspect you may be pregnant, you should take a pregnancy test.

What if I missed more than one pill?

In case you’ve missed two (2) or more consecutive combined pills, i.e. more than 48 hours have passed since you took a pill, you should do the following:

  • take the most recent missed pill as soon as possible, discarding any other missed pills;
  • continue taking your pills on schedule, even if it means taking a second pill on the same day or relatively close together; and
  • use back-up contraception method, such as condoms or other barrier protection, or avoid sexual intercourse entirely until you have taken the hormonal pills for 7 consecutive days.

If you’ve had unprotected sex and you’ve missed a pill, consider emergency contraception (EC).

Note: Certain combined pills, such as Logynon, Synphase, Eloine, Qlaira and Zoely have a different set of instructions on how to deal with missed pills due to their unique regiments and differing dosages. Refer to the patient information leaflet for further information on what to do.

What do I do if I’ve missed a pill in the last week of my pill cycle?

If you’ve missed a pill in the last week of your combined pills schedule, for example days 15 - 21 for 28-day pill packs, you should do the following:

  • take the missed pill as soon as possible and finish the active pills (containing hormones) of your current pill pack and start a new pill pack immediately - you should skip the hormone-free interval (pill-free break/inactive pills);
  • if you cannot start a new pack immediately, use back-up contraception or avoid sexual intercourse until you have taken the combined pill from a new pack for 7 consecutive days.

No further action is necessary if the missed pill was a placebo (non-hormonal), and you may start your next pack as normal. If using a combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP) with 28 pills, these should be the last 7 or 4 pills in the pack, depending on your brand.

What do I do if I miss a mini pill (progestogen-only pill)?

If you have missed 1 or more pills by more than 3 hours (for traditional progestogen-only pills) or more than 12 hours (for desogestrel POPs), you should:

  1. take the missed pill as soon as possible
  2. continue taking pills as normal, i.e. 1 per day at the same time
  3. avoid sexual contact for 2 days or use a back-up method, such as barrier contraception; and
  4. if it happened during the 1st week of starting the mini pill, you should contact your doctor and consider emergency contraception if you engaged in unprotected sex the week before

If you’ve missed a traditional mini pill by less than 3h hours or a desogestrel POP by less than 12 hours, take the pill as soon as you remember and continue taking the pill on your normal schedule. No additional contraception is needed if the late pill falls within these timeframes.

What do I do if I know I’m going to miss a contraceptive pill?

If you’ve run out of pills and know you will miss your next dose, you should take the next pill as soon as they’re available to you. Follow the instructions above for the time limits and use extra contraception (such as a condom) or abstain from sex in the meantime (for 7 days for a monophasic COCP and for 2 days for a POP), to minimise the risk of pregnancy.

One hand holding a combined pill tablet strip and the other holding a pen with a marked calendar and a clock in the background

How do I reduce the risk of missing a pill?

Forgetting to take your pill is not uncommon, but it is important making sure you keep on schedule to avoid unplanned pregnancies.

Below are some actions you can take to make sure you don’t forget to take the pill:

  1. Get a contraceptive pill that works for you - Some contraceptive pills give more leeway regarding when they can be taken while still remaining effective, so if you know you might struggle with taking a pill every day on the hour, consider desogestrel progestogen-only pills, as they remain effective for up to 12 hours from your normal schedule.
  2. Set up a reminder on your phone - setting up an alarm or a reminder on your phone is a good way to keep track of when you need to take the pill, especially if you get busy around certain times of the day.
  3. Keep some pills on you - if you know you’re not going to be home to take your pill on schedule, consider keeping some in your bag or a purse and taking them with you, so you can take them on time, even if you’re not at home.
  4. Download a medication tracking app - there are a number of apps available on iPhone and Android to help you keep track of when you need to take your pills. These can be useful for not just reminders, but for tracking your monthly pill schedule as well.
  5. Renew your prescription ahead of running out - For further peace of mind and to make sure you always have the pill available, renew your prescription at least a week in advance. If you need to also book a GP appointment, you should allocate additional time for this and for it to be ready for collection at the pharmacy.

Worried about running out?

Renew prescription here

To avoid running out of your pill, you can renew your prescription here at euroClinix, and you will have it sent directly to your door the next working day. You can get the most popular and most widely used contraceptives at euroClinix, including the pill, the patch, the contraceptive ring, and even emergency contraception.

Simply choose the contraceptive method you’d like to reorder and complete a quick and confidential online consultation with our doctors, to ensure it's still safe for you to use. If approved, your order will be dispatched on the same day, and will arrive to you in discreet packaging via our free next day delivery service.

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