What to do if you're late

In most cases for combined-hormone pills, if you take your pill 2 hours late it’s still effective. Most women use combined-hormone pills. They contain both estrogen and progestin. They must be taken once a day, but they don’t need to be taken at the same time every day.

However, if you’re taking progestin-only pills, it’s best to take them at the same time every day. They may be a lot less effective if you take them more than 3 hours later than usual. If this happens, you should use a backup method of birth control, like a condom, for the next 2 days. (For example, if you’ve been taking your pill at noon, but you forget to take it until after 3:00 p.m., you should take it as soon as you remember.) Continue to take the rest of the pack on schedule.

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