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Run out of pills or missed pills?

Unity offers confidential advice on contraception and access to free contraception.   If you have missed any of your contraceptive pills then it is important that you get the right advice so that you do not get pregnant.

You can access contraceptive pills from your GP, or one of our Unity Sexual Health clinics.

I have  run out of contraceptive pills – what should I do?

If you have run out of contraceptive pills, and you do not want to be pregnant, then you can either:

  • use condoms or femidoms every time you have sex, until you can get further supplies
  • avoid having any sexual contact.

You may also need to think about emergency contraception if you have missed pills and have had sex.  Please take a look at the relevant section on this website for more information.

Further information on Emergency Contraception

You will be able to get more contraceptive pills from your GP or one of the Unity Sexual Health clinics.

I am taking the progestogen only pill but have missed one or more pills – what should I do?

The progestogen only pill is also known as the mini-pill or everyday pill. This is a contraceptive pill that you take every day without any breaks.

You should take your pill at the same time every day. With some pills you can take it up to 12 hours late.  If you look at your pill pack and the active hormone is called “desogestrel” then you have 12 hours.  All other progestogen only pills allow you to take it up to 3 hours late.

If you are late taking your pill or have missed pills:

  • Take the last pill you missed as soon as you remember. If you have missed more than one, only take one.
  • Take your next pill at the usual time. This may mean taking two pills in one day. This is not harmful.
  •  Use an additional method of contraception, such as condoms, for the next two days,  as the pill will not be working in this time
  • If you have unprotected sex during this time you might need emergency contraception. It is important that you get advice as quickly as possible.

 

I am taking the combined hormonal contraceptive pill but have missed one or more pills – what should I do?

The combined hormonal contraceptive pill is normally taken every day for 3 weeks and then you have 1 week off. You are protected from pregnancy during your pill free week as long as you remember to start you pill again when it is due.

Some people take their pills in a different way after discussing it with a doctor or nurse.

Some people have ‘sugar’ or ‘placebo’ pills to take during their pill free week instead of having a break.

You should take your pill at the same time every day. You are allowed to miss one pill anywhere in your pack or start the new pack one day late and still have contraceptive cover.

However if you miss more than one pill you will need to follow the “missed pill rules” to reduce your chance of falling pregnant:

  • Take the last pill you missed now. If you have missed more than one, only take one.
  • Take your next pill at the usual time. This may mean taking two pills in one day. This is not harmful.
  • Use an additional method of contraception, such as condoms, for the next seven days,  as the pill will not be working in this time
  • If you have unprotected sex during this time you might need emergency contraception. It is important that you get advice as quickly as possible.

 

If there are seven or more pills left in the pack after the missed pill:

  • finish the pack
  • have the usual seven day break or take the placebo tablets.

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

  • finish the pack
  • do NOT have your usual seven day break or seven placebo pills. Instead start the next pill packet the next day.

I think that I need emergency contraception.

If you think that you might need emergency contraception then it is important that you get advice as quickly as possible.  There are time limits on when you can take emergency contraception.

If you want to talk to someone about emergency contraception you can speak to your GP or one of our Unity Sexual Health clinics.

Where do I get more pills from?

It is really important to plan ahead so you do not miss any pills.

You can get more pills from your GP.

If you are unable to see your GP you may also get pills from one of the Unity Sexual Health clinics.

I’m still not sure what to do. Where can I get further advice?

You can read about the progestogen only pill here:

http://www.fpa.org.uk/contraception-help/progestogen-only-pill-pop

And the combined hormonal contraceptive pill here:

http://www.fpa.org.uk/contraception-help/combined-pill

Your GP surgery should be able to answer any questions you might have.

Some pharmacists can also provide advice about emergency contraception.

 

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