Progestogen-only pills (POP) contain the second-generation progestogen (norethisterone, norgestrel, or their derivatives) and the third-generation progestogen (desogestrel). The failure rate of the POP is greater than that of combined oral contraceptive pills (COCP). One to three pregnancies occur, if 100 women were to use the POP for one year. POP is perfect for women, who like the ease of the pill taking but cannot take combined oral contraceptive pills.
You should take one tablet every day, on a continuous basis, beginning on the day one of the menstrual cycle, at the same time each day.
If the progestogen-only pills do not work, there is a somewhat greater risk of ectopic pregnancy.
If you are late to take your POP less than three hours (12 hours for some preparations of desogestrel 75 μg), you should take the delayed pill at once and continue taking further pills as normal. Additional contraceptive precautions are not needed.
If you are late to take your POP more than three hours (12 hours for some preparations of desogestrel 75 μg), you are not protected. Then, you should continue the normal pill-taking and use another contraceptive method, such as condoms for the next two days.
If one or more POPs are missed or taken more than three hours (12 hours for some preparations of desogestrel 75 μg) late and unprotected sexual intercourse has occurred before two further pills have been properly taken, you should use an emergency contraceptive method.
Changing from combined oral contraceptive pills (COCP)
You should start the first POP on the day following completion of the COCP course without a seven-day break or in the case of every day (ED) pills omitting the inactive pills).
Taking POP after childbirth
You can start POP three weeks after your childbirth. If you begin POP earlier than three weeks, you may have the increased risk of bleeding.
Diarrhoea, vomiting, and POP
If you vomit within two hours of taking a POP, you should take another pill as soon as possible and continue taking further pills as usual. If you do not take a replacement pill within three hours (12 hours for some preparations of desogestrel 75 μg) of your normal time for taking the POP, you should use an extra contraceptive method for the next two days.
If you have continuous vomiting or severe diarrhoea, you should use extra precautions during illness and two days right after recovery.
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