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When should I start birth control?


You have a choice of which day to start your first packet of oral contraceptives. Whenever you elect to start, pick a time of day that will be convenient daily.

There are two types of start days for oral contraceptives.
Day one start: Take the first active tablet in your packet during the first 24 hours of your period.
Sunday start: Most woman use a Sunday start because it is easiest to remember. Take the first active tablet in your pack on the first Sunday after your period starts, even if you are still bleeding. If your period begins on Sunday, start that day.

Most oral contraceptive manufacturers recommend using a back-up method of contraception (condoms, etc.) for at least 7 days, or even up to one month after starting your oral contraceptives.

To achieve maximum contraceptive effectiveness, your oral contraceptives should be taken exactly as directed at intervals not exceeding 24 hours, preferably at the same time each day, including all bleeding episodes. The effectiveness of oral contraceptives depends on strict adherence to the dosage schedule. Missing a pill can cause spotting or light bleeding, and the patient may be a little sick to the stomach on the day the missed tablet is taken with the next regularly scheduled tablet.

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Answers to questions regarding information about medications or health conditions are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the presence or absence of any health condition. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of the scientific literature may vary. Walgreens' terms of use and general warranty disclaimer apply to all services provided. If you are in need of immediate medical attention, contact your physician, poison control center or emergency medical professional. If you need to speak with a pharmacist for non-emergency matters, contact your local Walgreens pharmacist or call a pharmacist toll-free at 1 (877) 250-5823.

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