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 three hours late (or less than 12 hours late for a desogestrel pill)
You are still protected against pregnancy if:
- you're on a traditional progestogen-only pill, such as Micronor, Norgeston or Noriday, and you're less than three hours late taking your pill
- you're on 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 don't need to use extra contraception
- if you've had unprotected sex, you don't 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 on a traditional progestogen-only pill and you're more than three hours late taking your pill
- you're on 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 one, even if you've missed more than one pill
- take the next pill at the usual time - this may mean taking two pills on the same day (one when you remember and one 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 don't 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 two days for the progestogen-only pill to thicken cervical mucus so that sperm cannot get through or survive. The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare advises using extra contraception for two 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 seven days after you remember to take your pill. This is because it takes seven days for the pill to suppress 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.
Find pharmacists near you.
Find GPs near you.
Article provided by NHS Choices