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Combined oral contraceptive pill

About the combined pill

If taken correctly the combined pill or 'pill', as it is commonly known is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. You usually take the pill every day for 21 days, then stop for seven days and during this week you have a period-type bleed. You start taking the pill again after seven days.

You need to take the pill at a similar time every day. You could get pregnant if you don't do this or if you miss a pill or vomit or have severe diarrhoea. If you have missed pills and have had unprotected sex you may need emergency contraception - take a look at the missed pills chart from Family Planning Association.

The pill can help with heavy or painful periods and may help acne. Minor side effects include mood swings, breast tenderness and headaches.

The pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infection (STIs),  so using a condom  as well will help to protect you.

The combined pill isn’t suitable for everyone. Your nurse or doctor will ask you questions to check if it’s a good option for you.

There are many different types of combined pill, so if you experience minor side effects you should speak to your nurse or doctor.

Where you can get the pill from

You can get contraceptive pills from any of our clinics or your GP.

If you think the pill is the right contraception choice, you can:

  • make an appointment online to come into one of our clinic
  • visit any of our walk-in and wait clinics.

If you need to bring your child/children with you to your appointment we recommend you bring another adult with you to care for them.

Our walk-in and wait clinics offer limited slots and operate on a first come first served basis. When clinics are at full capacity, patients asking to be seen will be triaged and those who fit our urgent criteria will be a priority. At busy times we may need to signpost non-urgent cases to other clinics or recommend patients make an appointment for an alternative day or suggest a return visit.


More information

Visit NHS Choices – Combined pill 


Last updated: 01/11/2023