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What should I do if I miss a pill (progestogen-only pill)? - Your contraception guide

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 3 hours late (or less than 12 hours late for a desogestrel pill)

You are still protected against pregnancy if:

  • you're taking a traditional POP, such as Micronor, Norgeston or Noriday, and you're less than 3 hours late taking your pill
  • you're taking 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 do not need to use extra contraception
  • if you've had unprotected sex, you do not 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 taking a traditional POP and you're more than 3 hours late taking your pill
  • you're taking 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 1, even if you've missed more than 1 pill
  • take the next pill at the usual time – this may mean taking 2 pills on the same day (1 when you remember and 1 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 do not 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 2 days for the POP to thicken cervical mucus so that sperm cannot get through or survive. The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare advises using extra contraception for 2 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 7 days after you remember to take your pill. This is because it takes 7 days for the pill to stop 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.

Page last reviewed: 6 August 2019
Next review due: 6 August 2022