Contraception guide

How do I change to a different pill?

If you want advice about changing your contraceptive pill, you can visit your GP, contraceptive nurse (sometimes called a family planning nurse), or sexual health clinic.

You should not have a break between different packs, so you will usually be advised to start the new pill immediately or wait until the day after you take the last of your old pills.

You may also be advised to use alternative methods of contraception during the changeover, as the new pill may take a short time to take effect.

Where to get contraception

Most types of contraception are available free in the UK. Contraception is free to all women and men through the NHS. Places where you can get contraception include:

  • most GP surgeries – talk to your GP or practice nurse
  • community contraception clinics 
  • some genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics
  • sexual health clinics – they also offer STI testing services
  • some young people's services (call 0300 123 7123 for more information)

Find your nearest sexual health clinic by searching by postcode or town.

Contraception services are free and confidential, including for people under the age of 16.

If you're under 16 and want contraception, the doctor, nurse or pharmacist won't tell your parents or carer as long as they believe you fully understand the information you're given, and your decisions. Doctors and nurses work under strict guidelines when dealing with people under 16.

They'll encourage you to consider telling your parents, but they won't make you. The only time that a professional might want to tell someone else is if they believe you're at risk of harm, such as abuse. The risk would need to be serious, and they would usually discuss this with you first.

Page last reviewed: 15/07/2015

Next review due: 31/10/2017

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