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

What is the mini pill?

The mini pill is a type of oral contraceptive that you can take daily 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 pills, the combined oral contraceptive pill, and to the emergency contraceptive pill.

Unlike the combined pill, which contains oestrogen and progestogen, 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 the 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.

What are the 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 cannot take the combined pill
  • is a low dose pill that does not 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.

What should you do 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.

What types of mini pill are available?

There are 4 brands of mini pill available in Australia:

  1. Microlut
  2. Micronor
  3. Locilan 28
  4. Noriday 28

How effective is the mini pill?

The mini pill works very well if you take it properly. But as mistakes often happen, about 7 in every 100 women who use the mini pill may have an unplanned pregnancy.

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 about contraception, 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: March 2021


Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

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

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

Emergency contraception pill | Sex | ReachOut Australia

The emergency contraceptive pill, often called ‘the morning after pill’, is a high dose of hormones that aims to prevent pregnancy occurring after unprotected sex. Learn more about it with this guide from ReachOut.com.

Read more on ReachOut.com website

The Morning After Pill | Emergency contraception | How to get morning after pill | Cost & Effectiveness - Sexual Health Victoria

Emergency contraception is also know as the morning after pill. It is available over the counter at the pharmacy without a prescription in Australia.

Read more on Sexual Health Victoria 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

Contraceptive Pills | The Pill | Combined Pill | Oral Contraceptive Pill | Contraceptive | How Effective is the Pill | Side Effects of the Pill | Pregnant on the Pill - Sexual Health Victoria

Contraceptive pills are daily tablets that are swallowed around the same time every day to prevent pregnancy. The two types available in Australia are the Pill

Read more on Sexual Health Victoria website

Contraception: vaginal ring - MyDr.com.au

The vaginal ring (brand name NuvaRing) is a type of hormonal contraception. When used properly, the vaginal ring is an effective and safe way of preventing pregnancy.

Read more on myDr website

Hormonal contraception and mood disorders - Australian Prescriber

While hormonal contraception is generally safe and effective, it may precipitate depression in some women. This effect may be related to the progestogen contained in the contraceptive.

Read more on Australian Prescriber website

The Pill | Combined Pill | Oral Contraceptive Pill | Contraceptive | How Effective is the Pill | Side Effects of the Pill | Pregnant on the Pill - Sexual Health Victoria

The Pill is a daily tablet (also known as the combined pill or oral contraceptive pill). The Pill contains two hormones oestrogen and progestogen. These are sim

Read more on Sexual Health Victoria website

Combined Hormonal Contraceptive Pill (the Pill) | Family Planning NSW

The combined hormonal contraceptive pill (the Pill) is made up of two hormones, an oestrogen and a progestogen. These hormones are similar to the ones made in your ovaries.

Read more on Family Planning NSW 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 Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.