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NZ Formulary

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Progestogen-only contraceptive tablets

What does it do?

Progestogen-only contraceptive tablets contain the hormone progestogen. They are used to prevent pregnancy.

How should you take it?

You can start at any time in your cycle. If you start within 5 days of the first day of your period, you are protected from pregnancy straight away. If you start more than 5 days after the first day of your period, you will need to use condoms (or don’t have sex) for the next 2 days.
You need to take your tablet at the same time (within 3 hours, or 12 hours if you are taking desogestrel/Cerazette®) each day.
Unlike some other contraceptive tablets, you need to take progestogen-only contraceptive tablets every day. There are no inactive tablets or tablet-free breaks.

What if you forget a dose?

If you forget your tablet, take it as soon as you remember, then take your next tablet at the usual time (even if this means taking 2 tablets at the same time).
If you are more than 3 hours late (or 12 hours for desogestrel/Cerazette®), you also need to use condoms (or don‘t have sex) for the next 2 days.

Can you take other medicines?

Some medicines available without a prescription may react with progestogen-only contraceptive tablets including:

  • orlistat (Xenical®)

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products (e.g. St John's wort) or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Changes in periods

Mood changes, headache

Acne

Weight gain

Sore breasts

Stomach upset

Tell your doctor if troublesome

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your doctor if you have breast cancer, or porphyria.
  • If you vomit or have very bad diarrhoea within 2 hours of taking your tablet, take another one. If you can't, or the vomiting or diarrhoea continues, use condoms (or don't have sex) until you have taken your tablet for 2 days in a row after the vomiting or diarrhoea has stopped.
  • Progestogen-only contraceptive tablets do not protect you from sexually transmitted infections.
  • Taking progestogen-only contraceptive tablets doesn't make it harder to get pregnant if you want to later on.
  • Progestogen-only contraceptive tablets are also known as the progestogen-only pill (POP) and the "mini-pill".

This leaflet contains important, but not all, information about this medicine.

Prepared by the PILs Committee at Christchurch Hospital, Canterbury District Health Board, New Zealand. June 2018

For more general information about this sheet and its contents, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

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About My Medicines

My Medicines Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) contain important, but not all, information about the medicines they describe.

For more information about the sheets, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

My Medicines is developed by a team at the Canterbury District Health Board. Our team is made up of doctors, pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help us keep to plain language. We also discuss our information with specialist health professionals or groups when needed