Missed pills

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Question

What should I do if I missed a tablet of my birth control pills?

Answer

For the best chances of contraceptive effectiveness, it is important to never miss birth control doses. Birth control pills should be taken exactly as directed at intervals not exceeding 24 hours, preferably at the same time each day. The effectiveness of oral contraceptives depends on strict adherence to the dosage schedule. Missing a pill may cause spotting or light bleeding. Also, you may experience an upset stomach on the day the missed tablet is taken with the next regularly scheduled tablet.

If you are prescribed a 21-day supply and you miss a dose: If you miss one dose, take it as soon as you remember; then take the next pill at your usual time. You may take two tablets in one day. If you miss two doses (two days' worth) in a row, take two tablets for the next two days; then continue with your regular schedule.

Whenever one or two doses are missed, you should use a second method of contraception for the next seven days in addition to taking the pills. If you miss three doses in a row, you should notify your healthcare provider for instructions. You probably will need to throw away the rest of the tablets in that cycle pack and start over with a full month's supply. Another method of contraception should be used until at least seven doses have been taken in the new cycle. Missing a pill can cause spotting or light bleeding. Make sure that no more than seven days pass at the end of the 21-day cycle before you start your next pack of pills.

If you are prescribed a 28-day supply and you miss a dose: Follow the same directions as above for the first 21 days of the schedule. If you miss one of the last seven pills, you can either double the dose or skip it, but it is important to start the next month's cycle on the scheduled day.

Get more information about your brand of birth control pills.

Learn more about birth control options in the Health Encyclopedia.

View Walgreens.com intimacy and sexual wellness products for over-the-counter contraception options.

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