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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » How Perfect is Perfect Use?

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Author Topic: How Perfect is Perfect Use?
sweet_thing
Activist
Member # 52326

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I take my pill at pretty much the exact same time every day (5:30 pm). However, the other day I forgot to take it at that time and ended up taking it around 8:30. I know it's ok if I take it at generally the same time (within a few hours), but exactly how perfect is perfect? What would be an example of typical use of your pill?
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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With a combined pill, a pill isn't considered late unless taken over 12 hours after the usual time you take it.

Perfect use rates for methods are really about scientific studies (and that's where they come from), especially when we're talking about methods like the pill where use is ongoing, rather than something lie condoms, where it's used at the same time as sex, and thus, use can be determined in a single-use kind of way, if you get what I mean.

Typical use rates are generally the better rate to go with, because they're about the way most people use methods in regular daily life not in directed and supervised studies. With the pill, that includes not taking them at exactly the same time of day or missing a pill (but making it up) every now and then. It also includes things like sometimes not totally absorbing it properly due to illness.

What I usually suggest for people who are using a method as perfectly as possible to do is to figure they their effectiveness is probably the average between typical use and perfect use, so for someone like you (who sounds like they're using it properly), using the combined birth control pill, that would be around 96%.

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sweet_thing
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Thanks, that helps a lot!
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