Call us: Mon-Sat 8:30AM-6PM, Sun 9AM-2PM 0800 031 8386
Call us: Mon-Sat 8:30AM-6PM, Sun 9AM-2PM 0800 031 8386
Boots Advantage Card Shop Boots.com

WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE MISSED YOUR REGULAR PILL

WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE MISSED YOUR REGULAR PILL

Need further advice?

If you’re unsure about any of the instructions below, please get in touch and we can help you. You can message us through your Boots Online Doctor services account or call us.

Need emergency contraception?

GET STARTED
Same-day collection available

What you need to do depends on the type of pill you’re on

If you’re on the combined contraceptive pill and you miss a pill, what you need to do depends on:

  • How many pills you have missed (you have missed a pill when it’s more than 24 hours since you should have taken it)
  • When you missed your pill (where you are in the pack)
  • The type of combined pill you’re taking

The advice below for combined contraceptive pills does not apply for Daylette, Eloine, Qlaira and Zoely. If you’re using one of these, please message us, talk to your GP or sexual health clinic, or read the Patient Information Leaflet to find out what to do.

If you’re taking the progesterone-only pill (POP or mini pill), some have a 3-hour window and some have a 12-hour window of effectiveness. If your pill has a 12-hour window, it’s a desogestrel pill. The missed pill advice will be specific to your type of mini pill.

Please see the relevant section below for missed pill advice for your type of contraception.

You’re late restarting your combined pill

Follow these steps if you’re late restarting your pill after a pill-free break.

If it’s less than nine full days since you last took a pill, start a new pack now. You do not need emergency contraception, provided that you took your pill correctly for seven days before your pill-free break.

If it’s nine or more full days since you last took a pill, start a new pack now. Use condoms or do not have sex for the next seven days. You may need emergency contraception if you had unprotected sex in the pill-free break. Access our emergency contraception service or talk to a doctor, nurse or pharmacist as soon as possible.

It’s up to 48 hours since you took your last combined pill

Take your next pill now. Carry on taking the rest of the pack as usual.

It’s 48–72 hours since you took your last combined pill

You’ve missed one pill. Take the last pill you missed now. Carry on taking the rest of the pack as usual.

If you’re in the first week after a pill-free break, emergency contraception (EC) isn’t usually needed unless you’ve already missed a pill this week or you missed a pill in the seven days before your pill-free break. If you’re in any other week, EC isn’t usually needed, unless you’ve missed another pill in the last seven days.

It’s 3–7 days since you took your last combined pill

You’ve missed two or more pills. Take the last pill you missed now. Leave any earlier missed pills.

Carry on taking the rest of the pack as usual and use condoms or do not have sex for the next seven days.

If you’re due to start a pill-free break within the next seven days, don’t take the break, go straight on to your next pack.

If you’re in the first week after a pill-free break and you had unprotected sex during the break or during week one, you may need emergency contraception (EC). Access our emergency contraception service or talk to a doctor, nurse or pharmacist as soon as possible.

If you’re in any other week, EC isn’t usually needed unless you’ve also missed another pill in the last seven days.

It’s more than 7 days since you took your last combined pill

If it’s more than seven days since you took your last pill and it’s not a planned break, you’ve missed a lot of pills and could be at risk of pregnancy.

Start a new pack now. Carry on taking pills as usual and use condoms or do not have sex for the next seven days.

If you’ve had unprotected sex in the last five days, you may need emergency contraception. Access our emergency contraception service or talk to a doctor, nurse or pharmacist as soon as possible. If you had unprotected sex more than five days ago you should take a pregnancy test.

You’re less than 3 hours late taking your mini pill

You’re still protected against pregnancy if you’re taking a traditional mini pill (progesterone-only pill or POP), such as Micronor, Norgeston or Noriday, and you’re less than 3 hours late taking your pill

Take the missed pill now. Take the next pill at your usual time.

You do not need to use extra contraception. If you’ve had unprotected sex, you do not need emergency contraception.

If your mini pill contains desogestrel, please see below.

You’re less than 12 hours late taking your desogestrel mini pill

You’re still protected against pregnancy if you’re taking a desogestrel pill such as Cerazette or Cerelle, and you’re less than 12 hours late taking your pill.

Take the missed pill now. Take the next pill at your usual time.

You do not need to use extra contraception. If you’ve had unprotected sex, you do not need emergency contraception.

If you’re taking a traditional mini pill, such as Micronor, Norgeston or Noriday please see above.

You’re more than 3 hours late taking your mini pill

You’re not protected against pregnancy if you’re taking a traditional mini pill (progesterone-only pill or POP) and you’re more than 3 hours late taking your pill.

Take a pill now. Only take one, even if you’ve missed more than one pill.

Use extra contraception, such as condoms, for the next two days (48 hours), or do not have sex.

Take the next pill at your usual time — this may mean taking two pills on the same day (one now and one at the usual time), this is not harmful. Carry on taking your remaining pills each day at your usual time.

If you’ve had unprotected sex during the two days after you missed your pill, you may need emergency contraception. Access our emergency contraception service or talk to a doctor, nurse or pharmacist as soon as possible.

If you’re taking a desogestrel pill please see below.

It takes two days for the mini pill to thicken cervical mucus so that sperm cannot get through or survive.

You’re more than 3 hours late taking your desogestrel mini pill

You’re not protected against pregnancy if you’re taking a desogestrel pill and you’re more than 12 hours late taking your pill.

Take a pill now. Only take one, even if you’ve missed more than one pill.

Use extra contraception, such as condoms, for the next two days (48 hours), or do not have sex.

Take the next pill at your usual time — this may mean taking two pills on the same day (one now and one at the usual time), this is not harmful. Carry on taking your remaining pills each day at your usual time.

If you’ve had unprotected sex during the two days after you missed your pill, you may need emergency contraception. Access our emergency contraception service or talk to a doctor, nurse or pharmacist as soon as possible.

If you’re taking a traditional mini pill please see above.

It takes two days for the mini pill to thicken cervical mucus so that sperm cannot get through or survive.

Page last reviewed by: Dr. Christina Hennessey 21/06/2021