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The contraceptive pill, or ‘the pill’, is the most popular form of prescription contraception used in Ireland today. When used correctly, it is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.
The pill is swallowed orally, and is available in two types: the combined oral contraceptive pill (COC) and the mini-pill or progesterone-only pill (POP). The combined pill contains synthetic versions of the two hormones produced naturally by the female body, oestrogen and progesterone, while the mini-pill contains progesterone only.
The pill is most effective when it is used correctly. Forgetting to take your pill can be a stressful experience, but for many of us, it can be all too easy to do. However, a missed pill will not necessarily result in unwanted pregnancy if you follow the advice specific to your pill.
What you should do will depend on your individual situation:
If you are ever unsure about what to do, you can seek advice from your local sexual health or family planning clinic, your GP, nurse or pharmacist.
Missing one pill (up to 24 hours late)
If you miss just one of your combined oral contraceptive pills, or it has been more than 24 hours since you should have taken it, you will still be protected against pregnancy. You will not need to use additional forms of contraception if you are having sex. This is the case wherever you are in your current pack or your menstrual cycle. You should:
Missing two or more pills, or one pill (more than 48 hours late)
If you have missed two or more of your combined contraceptive pills, or forget to take one of your pills for more than 48 hours, then you may be at risk of pregnancy. You should:
You may also need to seek emergency contraception if you’ve had unprotected sex in the last 7 days of missing your pills.
Starting your next pack of pills:
Because this type of pill contains less hormones, there is a smaller time window allowed for taking your pill.
Less than 3 hours late (or less than 12 hours for Cerazette)
If you are 3 hours or less in taking your usual mini- or progesterone-only pill, then you will still be protected against pregnancy. If you are taking the Cerazette (POP) pill, and you are less than 12 hours late in taking your usual pill, then the same applies. You should:
More than 3 hours late (or more than 12 hours for Cerazette)
If you are more than 3 hours late in taking your usual mini- or progesterone-only pill, then you could be at risk of an unwanted pregnancy. The same applies if you are taking the Cerazette (POP) pill and are more than 12 hours late.
If you’re ever unsure about what to do, you should take your missed pill(s), seek medical advice as soon as possible, and use an additional form of contraception (like condoms) if you are having sex over the next 7 days. You can get advice from your local sexual health clinic, GP, nurse or pharmacist.
You can complete one of our online assessments at any time, whenever it suits you. It’s as easy as 1,2,3.
We want to make it easier and more affordable for you to access the healthcare you need.
Orders placed before 4pm will be dispatched the same day.
Delivered to your chosen address within 3-5 working days.
For urgent orders, delivered to your chosen pharmacy from 1 hour of placing your order if placed Mon-Fri 9am-4pm.
Your prescription will be delivered in plain, unlabeled packaging