Birth control pills - progestin only


Description

Oral contraceptives use hormones to prevent pregnancy. Progestin-only pills have only the hormone progestin. They do not have estrogen in them.

Alternative Names

Mini-pill; The pill - progestin; Oral contraceptives - progestin; OCP - progestin; Contraception - progestin; BCP - progestin

What Are Progestin Only Birth Control Pills?

Birth control pills help keep you from getting pregnant. The pills with only progestin come in 28-day packs. Every pill is active. Each has only progestin, and no estrogen. These types of birth control pills are used for women who have medical reasons that prevent them from taking a combination oral contraceptive pill (pills that contain progestin and estrogen). Women who take progestin-only pills may:

Progestin-only pills are very effective if taken correctly.

Progestin-only pills work by making your mucus too thick for sperm to move through.

How do I Start Taking Progestin Pills?

You may start taking these pills any time in your menstrual cycle.

Protection from pregnancy begins after 2 days. If you have sex within the first 48 hours after your first pill, use another birth control method (condom, diaphragm, or sponge). This is called backup birth control.

How do I Take Them?

You must take the progestin-only pill at the same time every day.

Never miss a day of taking your pills.

When you have 2 packs of pills left, call your health care provider for an appointment to get a refill. The day after you finish a pack of pills you need to start a new pack.

With these pills you may:

What if I do not Take my Pill on Time?

If you do not take the progestin pill on time, your mucus will start to thin and you could become pregnant.

When you realize you missed your pill, take it as soon as possible. If it is 3 hours or more since it was due, use a backup birth control method for the next 48 hours after taking the last pill. Then take your next pill at the usual time. If you had sex in the last 3 to 5 days, consider asking your provider for emergency contraception. If you have any questions or concerns, call your provider.

If you vomit after you take a pill, take another pill as soon as possible, and use a backup birth control method for the next 48 hours.

What to Expect When I Stop

You may decide to stop taking birth control pills because you want to get pregnant or you want to change to another birth control method. Here are some things to expect when you stop taking the pill:

When to Use a Backup Method

Use a backup method of birth control, such as a condom, diaphragm, or sponge, if:

When to Call the Doctor

Call your provider if:

References

Allen RH, Kaunitz AM, Hickey M. Hormonal contraception. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 18.

Glasier A. Contraception. In: Jameson JL, De Groot LJ, de Kretser DM, et al, eds. Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 134.

Isley MM, Katz VL. Postpartum care and long-term health considerations. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 23.


Review Date: 11/11/2016
Reviewed By: Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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