What is the pill:
The oral contraceptive pill may contain either one or two hormones. The combined pill contains two hormones: oestrogen and progestogen. The mini pill contains one hormone: progestogen. Both the combined pill and the mini pill require a prescription from your doctor
There are a variety of combined pills available in Australia. The newest combined pills contain natural oestrogen with synthetic progestogen and the other combined pills contain synthetic oestrogen and synthetic progestogen.
How long does the pill last?
The combined pill is available in different dosing regimens. The older pills are taken for 3 weeks followed by a week long break. The newer pills are taken for 24 days with a 4 day break or for 26 days with a 2 day break. During the break, you will experience a bleed similar to or lighter than a normal period.
The reliability of the pill may be reduced if taken more than 12 hrs late. The mini pill is also taken every day but is not reliable if taken more than 3 hours late.
How the pill works
The combined pill prevents pregnancy by several mechanisms: preventing the egg from leaving the ovary, changing the cervical mucus to restrict sperm movement and changing the lining of the uterus to make it less suitable for implantation.
The mini pill prevents pregnancy by changing the cervical mucus to restrict sperm movement and changing the lining of the uterus.
Both the combined pill and the mini pill are highly effective when taken correctly but their effectiveness may be reduced when taken incorrectly.
There are different types of combined pills, so it may be necessary to try one or two different types to find the one that suits you.
Return of pre-existing fertility usually occurs within the first cycle after ceasing to take the pill. Your doctor will be able to answer any questions you may have about the contraceptive pill.
The information provided on this website about medicines is taken from the relevant Product Information/Consumer Medicine Information leaflets. Please see your doctor or pharmacist for more information on individual options.
WOMN-1020031-0000 First issued December 2011