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How long does the pill take to work?

How long does the COC pill take to work?

For the combined pill (COC), if you start within the first five days of your menstrual cycle then it will be effective immediately. If you start after the first five days of your cycle, then the combined pill will not be effective for 7 days and you should use additional protection.

How long does the mini pill take to work?

The progestogen-only pill (POP), often referred to as the mini pill, is a type of oral contraceptive pill. It is most effective when taken at around the same time every day. Examples of the POP are Cerazette and Cerelle, Feanolla, Zelleta.

The mini pill works to reduce the chance of conception in different ways. One of the main ways it does this is by increasing the amount and thickness of cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to reach and fertilise an egg. This effect is achieved very soon after starting the POP.

When the POP is first started, users may need to give the pill enough time to start working and use additional precautions to prevent pregnancy, such as condoms or avoiding vaginal sexual intercourse.

For the progestogen-only pill (POP), if you start on the first day of your cycle then it will be effective immediately. If you start at any other time on your cycle then you should use additional protection for 48 hours.

If switching from another form of contraception, additional precautions may apply, depending on whether there has been any risk of unprotected sexual intercourse.

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Dr Gillian Holdsworth headshot

This post was clinically reviewed by:
Dr Gillian Holdsworth Fettle's Managing Director, Medical Doctor and public health expert.

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