Managing Missed Pills

It is easy to forget a pill or to be late in taking it. Adolescents are more likely to forget pills and so may need extra support and guidance.

POP users should know what to do if they forget to take pills. If a woman is 3 or more hours late taking a pill (12 or more hours late taking a POP containing desogestrel 75 mg), or if she misses a pill completely, she should follow the instructions below. For breastfeeding women, whether missing a pill places her at risk of pregnancy depends on whether or not her monthly bleeding has returned.

Making Up Missed Progestin-Only Pills

 

Key message
  • Take a missed pill as soon as possible.
  • Keep taking pills as usual, one each day. (She may take 2 pills at the same time or on the same day.)

Do you have monthly bleeding regularly?
  • If yes, she also should use a backup method for the next 2 days.
  • Also, if she had sex in the past 5 days, she can consider taking ECPs (see Emergency Contraceptive Pills).
Severe vomiting or diarrhea
  • If she vomits within 2 hours after taking a pill, she should take another pill from her pack as soon as possible, and keep taking pills as usual.

How Can a Partner Help?

The client’s partner is welcome to participate in counseling and learn about the method and what support he can give to his partner. A male partner can:

  • Support a woman’s choice of POPs
  • Help her to remember to take a pill at about the same time each day 

  • Show understanding and support if she has side effects

  • Help her to make sure that she has a new pill pack on hand to start on time

  • Help to make sure she has ECPs on hand in case she misses pills or starts a new pill pack late

  • Use condoms consistently in addition to POPs if he has an STI/HIV or thinks he may be at risk of an STI/HIV