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Missed Your Pill? Here’s What To Do

A lot of women use the pill for contraception. No surprise here because it is a reliable contraceptive method! They’re also very easy to use. Just pop a pill every day at the same time, and you’re all good! It’s over 99% effective in protecting you against pregnancy if you take them correctly and consistently.

But hey, nobody’s perfect and we make mistakes as well; does that mean that our pills will not be reliable if we fail to take them every day at the same time? Pills are still up to 91% effective, considering human errors such as forgetting to take them as directed.

Most days (hopefully), you take the pill right on time; but some days you might not remember until you’ve laid down in bed. If you forgot your pill, don’t panic! You can still do something about it.

If you missed your progestin-only pills with lynestrenol

WITHIN THREE (3) HOURS:

1. Take the missed pill immediately once you remember.

2. Continue taking one pill every day, at your usual scheduled time.

THREE (3) HOURS HAS PASSED OR MORE:

1. Take the forgotten pill.

2. Take the assigned pill for the day at the usual scheduled time, even if it means taking 2 pills for the day.

3. Use a condom or avoid having sex for the next two (2) days.

For those taking combined oral contraceptive pills with ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel (usually 28 pills in a pack)…

If you missed ONE (1) pill:

1. Take the missed pill immediately once you remember.

2. Take the assigned pill for the day at the usual scheduled time, even if it means taking 2 pills for the day.

3. Continue taking one pill every day, at your usual scheduled time.

If you missed TWO (2) or MORE pills:

1. Take the latest missed pill, and discard the other pills before it.

2. Use a condom or avoid having sex for the next seven (7) days.

3. Count the number of remaining pills in the pack:

A. If there are 1-6 pills remaining:

– continue taking one pill every day until you finish the pack.

– discard the seven (7) inactive pills (the brown or beige pills on the last row).

– start immediately on a new pack, and use a condom or avoid having sex for the next seven (7) days

B. If there are 7 or more pills remaining in the pack:

– continue taking one pill every day until you finish the pack (including the 7 inactive pills)

– start on a new pack once you’ve finished the previous one.

For those taking combined oral contraceptive pills with cyproterone acetate and ethinylestradiol (usually 21 pills in a pack)…

If you missed ONE (1) pill:

1. Take the missed pill immediately once you remember.

2. Take the assigned pill for the day at the usual scheduled time, even if it means taking 2 pills for the day.

3. Continue taking one pill every day, at your usual scheduled time.

If you missed TWO (2) or MORE pills:

1. Take the latest missed pill, and discard the other pills before it.

2. Use a condom or avoid having sex for the next seven (7) days.

3. Count the number of remaining pills in the pack:

A. If there are 1-6 pills remaining:

– continue taking one pill every day until you finish the pack.

– skip the seven (7) pill-free days.

– start immediately on a new pack, and use a condom for the next seven (7) days.

B. If there are 7 or more pills remaining in the pack:

– continue taking one pill every day until you finish the pack (including the seven pill-free days).

– start on a new pack once you’ve finished the old one.

Give yourself time to get used to taking a pill every day at the same time, until the habit sticks with you. Setting an alarm on your phone, or pairing the routine with a regular activity you do each day (such as brushing your teeth or eating dinner) might help you. If you really think the pill isn’t for your lifestyle, your healthcare provider could help find out what suits you best.

Sources:

https://splinternews.com/does-taking-birth-control-at-the-same-time-every-day-ma-1793845871

https://www.self.com/story/how-important-is-it-to-take-the-pill-at-the-same-time-every-day

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