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The Progestogen-only Pill

What is it?

As the name suggests, this pill contains progestogen only. You should take one pill every day, which means taking pills during your period, and no break between packs.

Depending on which sort of progestogen-only pill you are taking, you will need to take it within 3 to 12 hours of the same time each day. If you miss a pill, always check the patient information leaflet you get with your pills, or get advice from your doctor.

How reliable is it?

Make sure you follow the packet instructions very carefully because if you miss a pill you may not be fully protected and you could get pregnant.

With “perfect use” the progestogen-only pill is over 99% effective meaning that less than 1 woman in 100 will become pregnant in a year.1

However, because with every day “typical use” many women sometimes forget to take the pill, up to 9 women out of 100 in one year will become pregnant.1


Typical use

91% 1



  • It is suitable if you cannot tolerate estrogen
  • It can be used while breastfeeding as it does not affect breast milk
  • Your fertility (ability to become pregnant) will quickly return to normal when you stop taking the pill


  • It can cause irregular bleeding, but this may settle with time
  • While using it you may experience no bleeding at all
  • You may also experience side-effects such as pimples and greasy skin, breast tenderness, bloating and headaches
  • It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections

Where can I get it?

You can get the progestogen-only pill from a doctor, Family Planning Clinic or Well Woman Clinic. Your doctor will write a prescription for the pill and you then bring this to a Pharmacy where you can buy the progestogen-only pill. For Medical Card patients the pill is available on the GMS (General Medical Services).


1. Trussell J. Contraceptive failure in the United States. Contraception 83 (2011) 397–404.