Missed mini pill or missed progestogen-only pill: What to do

Missed mini pill? If you’ve missed a pill it’s normal to freak out and panic google what you should do. We’re pretty sure that’s how you stumbled across this article. But there’s no need to stress. Just cause you didn’t take it one day, doesn’t mean you’re gonna be a parent 9 months from now. Here's what you should do if you’ve missed a progestogen-only pill like cerazette.

A young woman is standing. She is thinking about a missed mini pill.

Please note: The following advice relates to missing the progestogen-only pill ONLY. This is the pill that contains just one hormone (you guessed it) – progestogen. It’s often referred to as the ‘mini-pill’. Our advice only applies if you’ve missed a Cerazette pill or another of these common brands: Micronor, Noriday, Femulen, Microval, Norgeston, or Neogest.

On the other hand, if you’ve missed the other type of pill a.k.a the microgynon pill (the combined pill), read this article.

Missed pill rules

If you’ve missed a mini pill, follow the three hour rule. Your pill will still work if your remember within 3 hours of when you usually take it. But if you’re more than three hours late or missed taking your mini pill altogether then your contraception won’t work. No if, buts or ands. From that moment on, you should assume that you’re no longer protected from pregnancy. 

If you resume taking your pills as normal once you’ve figured out that you’ve missed one, your contraception’ll work again after two days (that is once you’ve taken two pills at the right time). In the meantime, use barrier methods of contraception such as condoms. Better safe than sorry, right?

Alternatively, if you’ve had unprotected sex since the pill stopped working you may want to think about using emergency contraception. This’ll help reduce your chances of becoming pregnant. Learn about the morning after pill here.

I missed a mini pill and now I am experiencing spotting half way through my cycle. Is this normal?

This is a side effect of practically any pill you take. So there’s no need to panic. On the progestogen-only pill the bleeding will sort itself out in its own time. All you have to do is continue to take the pill as normal. Just keep in mind that missing a pill while having unprotected sex means that you might be pregnant. Once again, if you’re in this situation you should speak to someone about using emergency contraception.

I’ve had mild diarrhoea. Is the pill still effective?

The pill is only ineffective if you’ve had severe diarrhoea (like ate-some-really-bad-meat diarrhoea). If the diarrhoea is mild then you’re all good. Keep on taking your pills every day. It’s worth mentioning that this advice is the same no matter what pill you take.

I missed the first pill of a new pack. Will I still be protected?

Since there’s no break between packs (like on the combined pill), if you’re taking the progestogen-only pill then forgetting one pill means that you’re not protected. Full stop.

So If you’ve had sex since the pill then you should speak to a medical professional ASAP. Just to make sure you’re not pregnant. 

And remember, you’ve gotta have two days of taking the pill normally after a missed mini pill before it becomes effective again. During this time make sure you’re using additional contraception i.e. a condom. Just in case.

I missed the last pill in my packet. What now?

Having a missed mini-pill means that you’re vulnerable to pregnancy. If you’ve had unprotected sex since missing it you may want to consider emergency contraception like the morning after pill. This is easily available and you can get it anonymously.

I’ve been away and forgot to take my pills so I’ve missed three out of my packet. What now?

Whichever pill you’re taking it’s important to restart your pills now. Like right now… okay maybe you can finish reading this article first but then GO AND TAKE YOUR PILL. If you’re taking the progestogen-only pill then forgetting three pills (or any number of pills) means that you’re definitely not protected against pregnancy. The same rules apply as when you miss one pill if this is your only form of contraception – talk to your doctor and wait two days for it to kick in again.

Please note that this is for informative purposes only – if you have any further concerns, consult your GP (doctor) or contact the fpa immediately.

What to do if you’ve missed a mini pill

If you’ve missed a cerazette pill, or have a desogestrel missed pill left in the packet (which works by stopping ovulation), follow these simple missed pill rules:

  • Missing even one pill means your protection will no longer work.
  • You need to resume taking your pills for two days in a row before your contraception effectively protects against pregnancy again.

For more help with contraception check out The Mix’s safe sex resources here. Brook’s Contraception tool can help you work out the best contraceptive method for you.

Next Steps

  • Brook's Contraception tool helps you work out best contraceptive method for you.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

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FAQ| pill

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 02-Jul-2022