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What is the missed pill rule when taking progestogen only pill (POP/mini-pill)?

The chance of getting pregnant depends on when the pills are missed, how many pills are missed and whether you have had sex without using another form of contraception such as condoms.

First check your pill packet.

If you are on a pill containing only desogestrel then you are taking a 12 hour pill. This means that each pill must be taken within 12 hours of the same time every day.

If you are less than 12 hours late, then take the missed pill as soon as you remember and take your next one on time. You do not need to take extra precautions as the pill will still work, and you’ll be protected against pregnancy.

If you are more than 12 hours late, then take your missed pill as soon as you remember it, take the next one on time and keep taking the pill. You may want to consider emergency contraception. You will not be protected until you have taken two more pills at the correct time and will need to use condoms when you have sex for those two days. You will be able to rely on your pill for contraception again at about the time that you are due to take your third pill.

If you are on a pill containing only norethisterone or levonorgestrel, then you are taking a three hour pill. This means that the pill must be taken within three hours of the same time every day.

If you are less than three hours late, then take the missed pill as soon as you remember and take your next one on time. You do not need to take extra precautions as the pill will still work, and you’ll be protected against pregnancy.

If you are more than three hours late, then take your missed pill as soon as you remember it, take the next one on time and keep taking the pill. You may want to consider emergency contraception. You will not be protected until you have taken two more pills at the correct time and will need to use condoms when you have sex for those two days. You will be able to rely on your pill for contraception again at about the time that you are due to take your third pill.

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 from your sexual health clinic or GP as soon as possible.

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Dr Gillian Holdsworth headshot

This post was clinically reviewed by:
Dr Gillian Holdsworth Fettle's Managing Director, Medical Doctor and public health expert.

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