Information on Progestogen-only Pills (Minipill)

1. Background Information

  • Progestogen-only contraceptive pills (minipill) contain one synthetic hormone - progestogen. It works by inhibiting ovulation, interfering sperm transportation and embryo implantation.
  • It is most suitable for breastfeeding mothers as it does not affect breastmilk production.
  • It provides a choice for women who cannot use combined oral contraceptive pills for medical or other reasons. For example, women who smoke or with diabetes mellitus, hypertension or other illnesses that may be worsen by intake of oestrogen.
  • Clients should consult a doctor before commencing the pills.

2. Method of Administration

  • In general, women should commence the pills within the first 5 days of menses.
  • If vomiting occurs within 3 hours of pill taking, take another pill as soon as possible to achieve sufficient contraceptive effect.
  • If you have continued vomiting or have a severe diarrhea, please use condom as a backup contraception during your illness and plus 7 days after illness.
  • Pills should be taken at the same time every day.

3. Side Effects

  • You may have bleeding irregularity, diminished menses flow or no menses which is related to the hormonal effect of the progestogen.
  • Other common side effects including breast tenderness, nauseas, acne, headaches and mood changes can be occurred at the initial period of use and usually subside within the first few months.
  • Please seek medical assessment as soon as possible and tell your doctor you are using Progestogen-only contraceptive pills, if you have the following symptoms:
    • Such as onset of severe headaches or migraine after starting the pills, fainting, rise in blood pressure, weakness or tingling/numbing sensation affecting one side or one part of the body, yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice), abdominal pain, calf pain or severe chest pain.
  • Please return to Maternal and Child Health Centre for assessment for suitability to continue your contraceptive pill, if you have the following conditions:
    • Have any signs and symptoms of pregnancy;
    • Newly diagnosed diseases, e.g. heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hyperlipidaemia, thromboembolic disease, cancer or other newly diagnosed medical and surgical diseases.

4. Missed Pill Management

(Information apply to desogestrel contraceptive pill only)

  • Delay taking 1 pill for less than 12 hours
    • Please take the delayed pill immediately
    • Take the remaining pills as your usual schedule
  • Delay taking pill/pills for more than 12 hours
    • Please take the delayed pill/pills immediately
    • Take the remaining pills as your usual schedule
    • Use condom as backup contraception in the coming 7 days for protection against pregnancy.
    • Please return to Maternal and Child Health Centre as soon as possible for counseling and assessing the need for emergency contraception.

5. Taking other medication

  • Please inform your doctor you are taking oral contraceptive pills before taking other medication, as some medication may affect the contraceptive effect of contraceptive pills.

If you have any queries, please return to the Maternal and Child Health Centre for advice.

(Content revised 08/2012)