Mini-Pills for Birth Control: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Mini-pills are used to prevent pregnancy. They release a regular dose of the hormone progestin. They are different from regular combination birth control pills, which contain both progestin and estrogen.

Mini-pills come in packs. Every mini-pill in the pack contains progestin. There are no sugar pills. So you have to take a pill every day at the same time to prevent pregnancy, even during your period.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

How do you take the mini-pill?

  • Follow your doctor's instructions about when to start taking your pills. It's best to take your first pill on the first day of your period. If you take the first pill another day, use backup birth control, such as a condom, or don't have intercourse for the next 48 hours (2 days).
  • Take every mini-pill in the pack, even during your period. Don't stop taking your pills if you have spotting between periods.
  • Take the pill at the same time every day.
  • Start your next pack the day after the last pack is finished. There is no break between packs. Always have your next pack of pills ready.

What if you forget to take a pill?

Always read the label for specific instructions, or call your doctor or nurse call line. Here are some basic guidelines:

  • If you take a pill more than 3 hours late, take it as soon as you remember, even if that means you will take 2 pills in one day. Then go back to your regular schedule.
  • Use backup birth control, such as a condom, or don't have intercourse for the next 48 hours to prevent pregnancy.
  • If you had intercourse within 5 days of forgetting to take the pill, you can use emergency contraception, such as the morning-after pill (Plan B). You can use emergency contraception for up to 5 days after having had sex, but it works best if you take it right away.

What else do you need to know?

  • The mini-pill has side effects.
    • You may have changes in your period and your period may stop. You may also have spotting or bleeding between periods.
    • You may have mood changes, less interest in sex, or weight gain.
  • If you vomit or have diarrhea soon after taking a pill, use a backup method or don't have intercourse for 7 days.
  • Check with your doctor before you use any other medicines, including over-the-counter medicines and natural health products. Birth control hormones may not work as well to prevent pregnancy when combined with other medicines.
  • The mini-pill doesn't protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as herpes or HIV/AIDS. If you're not sure whether your sex partner might have an STI, use a condom to protect against disease.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have severe belly pain.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You think you may be pregnant.
  • You have any problems with your birth control.
  • You feel you may be depressed.
  • You regularly have spotting.
  • You think you may have been exposed to or have a sexually transmitted infection.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: May 30, 2016