Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Mini pill (progestogen-only pill)

3-minute read

The 'mini pill' is a type of contraceptive. It’s a good option for women who can’t take other sorts of contraceptive pills, for example because they are breastfeeding. The main drawback is you need to take it at the same time every day for it to work properly.

What is the mini pill?

The mini pill is a daily pill that you can take to avoid getting pregnant. Its proper name is the progestogen-only contraceptive pill.

You need to take the mini pill at the same time every day, without a break. If you take it more than 3 hours late it might not work. You need to use condoms for 48 hours if you miss a pill.

The mini pill is different to the other type of daily contraceptive pill, the combined oral contraceptive pill, and the and the emergency contraceptive pill.

Unlike the combined pill, the mini pill contains only one hormone — progestogen. The mini pill is useful for many women who can't take the combined pill, either because they are breastfeeding or for other health-related reasons.

How does the mini pill work?

The mini pill works by thickening the mucus at the entrance to your uterus (womb), which stops sperm from getting through and fertilising the egg.

In some women, the mini pill also prevents the ovaries from releasing eggs in the first place.

Advantages and disadvantages of the mini pill

The main advantages of the mini pill are that it:

  • can be used by most women, including many who can't take the combined pill
  • is a low dose pill that doesn't contain oestrogen, so has less risk associated with it than the combined pill

The main disadvantages are that it:

  • needs to be taken at the same time every day, with only a 3-hour window either side
  • can cause irregular periods

The mini pill won't protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV; only condoms can do that.

If you forget to take the mini pill

If you are more than 3 hours late taking the mini pill, take the pill you missed. Keep taking the pills as normal, and use another form of contraception (like a condom) for the next 48 hours until you have taken 3 consecutive doses of the mini pill.

Types of mini pill

There are 4 brands of mini pill available in Australia: Microlut, Micronor, Locilan 28 and Noriday 28.

How well does the mini pill work?

The mini pill works very well if you take it properly. But as mistakes often happen, about 1 in 10 women who use the mini pill get pregnant.

Vomiting and diarrhoea can prevent the pill from being absorbed properly.

Some medicines or herbal remedies may also prevent the pill from working, so you should ask your doctor or pharmacist about how any other medicines you need to take might affect it.

More information

For more information, see Family Planning NSW and Jean Hailes for Women's Health.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: February 2019

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Contraception – the combined pill - Better Health Channel

The two types of oral contraception available in Australia are the combined pill, known as the Pill, and the mini pill.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Contraception | Jean Hailes

There are many different methods of contraception to avoid pregnancy including the oral contraceptive pill (OCP), the mini-pill, a condom, an intrauterine…

Read more on Jean Hailes for Women's Health website

Contraception choices | Family Planning NSW

Contraception is necessary if you wish to avoid an unintended pregnancy. Several methods of contraception are available - check out this factsheet to find out more information.

Read more on Family Planning NSW website


Contraception is the use of hormones, devices or surgery to prevent a woman from becoming pregnant. It allows couples to choose if and when they want to have a baby.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Contraception - injections for women - Better Health Channel

Hormonal contraception for women is available as injections that slowly release hormones into the body over time.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Acne overview -

Acne, a condition in which your skin gets greasy, its pores get blocked and you get blackheads, pimples or cysts, usually gets better over time.

Read more on myDr website

Hormonal health – clues made clear | Jean Hailes

Hormones can be a complex area of women's health, but certain changes to your vagina and vulva can give you some insight.

Read more on Jean Hailes for Women's Health website

Diet and medication while breastfeeding

Breastfeeding mothers don't need a special diet. But small amounts of what you consume can enter breast milk, so knowing what's safe is important. Learn more.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

DES daughters - Better Health Channel

If your mother took DES while she was pregnant with you, then you are a DES daughter or DES son.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Ectopic pregnancy -

Ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that implants outside the uterus (womb). Most ectopic pregnancies occur in one of the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancy is a serious condition.

Read more on myDr website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo