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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » Important Birth Control Pill Reminders

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Author Topic: Important Birth Control Pill Reminders
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Just wanted to leave a quickie/general note here regarding a discussion amoung our volunteers in terms of clarity per missed and late birth control pills, and what Scarleteen, in particular, advises.

One of the tough things about information on the pill, even just in terms of general effectiveness rates, when it comes to Scarleteen is that all things aren't equal when it comes to adolescent women and fully adult women. For instance, it is well documented at this point that typical use effectiveness (not perfect use) is far lesser amoung adolescents with the pill alone than it is with adult women (mostly due to adolescents having to hide the fact that they take pills, so missing a lot of pills, or just forgetfulness).

But, just so's ya know, and for this particular population:

• With ALL BCPs, you want to do your level best to take your pill as close to the same time every day as is possible, ideally within a window of a few hours: if you do that, every day, then you're a perfect pill user -- that doesn't mean you get a gold star (unless you want one, in which case, by all means, star yourself), but it does mean that unless you have any other misuse (such as other drug interactions, or vomiting pills up, etc.) you can rest assured you have the highest effectiveness in terms of pregnancy protection possible from your pill. To simplify that, what's important is not that you take the pill at the EXACT same time every day (as in, "Oh god! I usually take it at 10:32, and it's 11:03!"), but at the same time of day: for instance, always in the morning.

• With ALL BCPs, to be as safe as possible, and in the interest of advocating for you to have as much protection as possible, it is strongly advised, especially for adolescents (for effectiveness but also because STIs are such a higher risk) to back up the pill with condom use when using the pill as birth control.

• With ALL BCPs, to be as safe as possible if you are NOT going to back up with condoms, we strongly advise you to wait one full month before using ONLY the pill as birth control, even though for many women, whether they Sunday start or start on the first day of their periods, the pill may likely be fully effective within seven days, and for some, even sooner. But if you have gone without a backup method in those first seven days and had sex with only the pill, it is advised to call your healthcare provider and ask about emergency contraception. You may also want to consider doing so if you went without a backup in that first cycle.

• With ALL BCPs, a "missed" pill is one that was not taken within 24 hours of the last pill you took. A missed pill should always be taken as soon as you realize you have missed it, but there is likely no risk from one missed pill or a need for EC. A "late" pill varies more in definition amoung various sources, and to some degree from pill to pill, but with any type of pill, if you have taken a pill more than 12 hours late, you may want to consider using a backup method of birth control for the rest of your cycle.

• With ALL pills if you have missed more than one pill, you will need to take the pills you missed when you missed them (so long as it is not more than three, in which case, with most pills, you'll want to wait until the following Sunday, then just start a new pack entirely, but use a backup for that cycle), and we'd advise a backup method of birth control until your next pill pack begins. If you have missed several pills and have had sex in that cycle without a backup method, we advise emergency contraception. When in doubt, always contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

• With ALL pills,read your pill packet information. Pills -- how they're taken, when effectiveness is compromised, what side effects and risks are most prevalent, and the best ways to take them -- can ALL differ from pill to pill. So, be sure if you're on the pill, to read those inserts and to talk to your healthcare provider prescribing the pill for you and ask ANY questions you have: there's just no reason to fly blind with your birth control.

Please understand that more often than not, we DO err on the side of caution here at Scarleteen, both because in many aspects the population we serve is unique (and largely underrepresented in many studies on everything to do with sexuality and sexual health) and because while we are not legally liable for information here, we are certainly (and feel we, or anyone else, should be) visible and accountable for the information we give you and want to be sure we're doing the very best we can to help you stay as safe as possible if you're going to be sexually active. We always review a myriad of credible sources with our information (and as you know, they often vary), and do our level best to look at that information as a whole and draw whatever conclusions from all of it which we feel the most confident will help you to be the most safe.

As usual, we will always encourage you to seek out a second opinion from your healthcare provider whenever you like or feel a need.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Since yesterday was apparently national birth control pill questions day [Razz] , I went ahead and expanded this here: http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/three_questions_about_taking_the_birth_control_pill_and_plenty_of_answers

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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troublemakr44
Neophyte
Member # 38948

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i am on birth control. i am halfway through my second pack and i must say this month im having trouble taking them the same time. i plan to take it at 8am but on some occassions i have taken it later around 10 and 2 on two days. i do not use condoms and was wondering if i would have to start a new pack bacause i havent taken them at the same times or if they are ineffective now. i havent missed any but im not familiar with the reasons to take them at the same time and would like to know if it isnt effective anymore. im scared because a friend of mine has recently become pregnant when she was on depo. i dont know for how long tho. she recently switched from pills. but i am scared i could get pregnant even on the pill.
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September
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 25425

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You'll want to take the pills as close as possible to the same time to keep the hormone level in your body constant. So taking your pill within a three hour window of your pill time is ideal. That means if your pill time is 8am, then 10am is still just fine, but 2pm is pushing it a little.

A pill is not considered late to the point of effecting your protection until it's been 12 hours or more. If you're perfect about your pills and have one that's late, you're still likely fine. If you're erratic about your pills and take more than one late, you'll want to back up with condoms for the rest of that pack.

So. Anything less than 12 hours late is okay, but you'll want to stick within those three hours just because it's easier on your body, and it's easier to remember if you have a set time.

Do not stop in the middle of the pack, just make an effort from now on to take them on time.

Since you never took any of them more than 12 hours late, I'd say you haven't significantly decreased your protection.

[ 06-15-2008, 03:38 PM: Message edited by: September ]

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Johanna
Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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hellohello17
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Member # 39031

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I was on loestrin 20 and my doctor changed me to microgynon 30 due to loestrin being a low dose resulting in early periods.

I had my usual pill free week and started microgynon 30 when i would usually take my old pill, which i had been on for 7 months. i'm a perfect pill user always 8pm and never late, however, i had unprotected sex on the 2nd day of my new pill. Am i protected against pregnancy? it wasn't explained to me properly if the pill free week i had just had would affect the effectivness of my new pill. I'm really worried.

if you can help, thank you.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Really, all BCPs are low-dose nowadays. Though the Microgynon has .030mg of the Ethinylestradisol. Loestrin has .020mgs of the estorgen, but it also has two extra days of it (and its placebos are also iron supplements). However, both are still low-dose pills.

Regardless, switching like this should not have caused any interruption in your pill's effectiveness, so long as you have been taking your pills correctly and on schedule.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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hellohello17
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Member # 39031

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Feww thank you. Also this sounds overly dumb but if i take my last pill on a wednesday night, do i take it the following wednesday night or on the thursday night because thursday would mean 7 full free days? people i know on the pill do both so i'm not sure.
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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You just keep going where you always take your pills at the same time every night. If you aren't taking the placebo pills, you count seven nights after your last active pill, which would, indeed, have your next active pill be on the next Thursday.

If you want to assure yourself of that, then go ahead and take the placebo pills for a week and see how it works out.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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mezkarla415
Neophyte
Member # 42640

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i have been taking the YAZ bcp for 3 months now. i am going to start my fourth pack this saturday.

but last saturday my bf and i had sex without any protection other than the pills. then i remembered that i previous month, i had not take all my placebo pills. i was wondering if that affects how well my pills work, and does that mean i am at a higher risk of getting pregnant?

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Taking the placebo pills is optional: you don't have to take them, it's just helpful for some women to do so so they stay in the habit of taking a pill at the same time every day.

If you didn't miss any active pills, it's a nonissue.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Girl.Bassist
Neophyte
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Just a little question, if I usually take my pill around 10 at night but am occasionally off by an hour or so, would that put me in the perfect pill user catagory or the typical use one?
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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That's pretty darn close to perfect. An hour either way is really, really unlikely to make any kind of difference.

When I'm doing birth control counseling, I generally like to tell people to consider that "perfect use" really means clinical trials and studies, and that while we often may be able to be mighty close to perfect use, in real life, we'll probably always fall at least a little short. So, when picking a method, or deciding if only one is okay with you, if you know you use it consistently and really well, you might consider it's effectiveness as somewhere between typical and prefect use. Know what I mean?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Bacoobs
Neophyte
Member # 47388

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Just a quick question about BC. I was on Alesse 28 for 4 years and decided to switch to Alesse 21 as I felt no need for the placebo pills. I have been on that for about a year now but I accidentally started a new pack of Alesse 21 without stopping for the 7 days after my last pack... My new pack starts on Sunday's so I took sunday's and monday's pill and then realized I was wrong and stopped taking them. I figure I will just need to throw out that pack and begin the next pack the following sunday but what is the best option? I have kind of made a mess about this now. Please help!
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Lorose6
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Member # 98411

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Hi! I have been on Microgynon 30 for a month (had the first set, then my seven days off) now last night I've just started the second set. It says in the leaflet inside that to be protected against pregnancy I must have started the first set on the first day of my period... I started it on the second day of my period. Was I protected from pregnancy? I know it sounds dumb... Also, seeing as I started the first set on the wrong day, I started the second pack on time with the first (after 7 days etc), so am I protected against pregnancy?
Thanks

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September
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 25425

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Lorose, can you please start a topic of your own? It's really confusing for the staff and volunteers when users ask unrelated questions in old topics. You can create a new topic by clicking on the "New Topic" button. Thanks!

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Johanna
Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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