Swapping and changing
I'm on the pill and at the end of my last pack I was unable to get to the doctor's for a repeat prescription. I had some left of another pill I was on so I took those instead. Am I still protected?
Some pills may be the same and others not. If the pills are the same then you could still be protected. It's important you find out if they are the same or not. A nurse on the fpa Helpline (0845 310 1334) or NHS Direct (0845 46 47) would be able to give you some medical advice about this, and let you know if you are still protected.
If you've missed your correct pill and had sex within the last few days, you may also need to use emergency contraception and should, therefore, seek medical advice as soon as possible. If you have your correct pill, keep taking it and use condoms in the meantime.
Emergency contraception can be used if a contraceptive method fails (for instance a condom splits or a pill is forgotten or taken late) or if no contraception is used at all. There are two forms of emergency contraception - the emergency contraceptive pill and the emergency intrauterine device (IUD).
Emergency contraceptive pills can be taken up to 72 hours (three days) after sex but are more effective the sooner they are taken. Emergency contraceptive pills are available for free from:
- General practitioners (GPs);
- Family planning clinics;
- Brook Centres (for under 25s);
- NHS walk-in centres;
- Most sexual health/GUM clinics;
- Some accident and emergency departments.
Women over 16 can also buy them from a chemist for around £20.
An IUD can be fitted as an emergency contraceptive up to five days after sex. It has to be fitted by a specially trained doctor or nurse so you should check with a service to see if they offer this before going.
You can get medical advice about your situation at your nearest Brook centre, youth clinic, family planning clinic or your GP. They would be able to let you know if you are still protected against pregnancy and can provide free contraceptive pills, emergency contraception and condoms.
If you are ever in any doubt about whether a method of contraception is providing protection, always use a condom until you have got some medical advice.
If you would like to discuss your situation further you can call the Brook Freephone Helpline on 0800 0185 023.
Question answered by YouthNet in association with Brook