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The combined pill

The combined pill

How to

How do I take the combined pill?

There are many different brands of combined pill. There are 3 main types and they are taken in slightly different ways:


    This is the most common type. Each pill has the same amount of hormone in it. One pill is taken each day for 21 days and then no pills are taken for the next 7 days. It does not matter what order you take the pills in as they are all the same. During the 7 pill free days you will get a bleed.


    Phasic pills contain 2 or 3 sections of different coloured pills in a pack. Each section of pills contains a different amount of hormones. One pill is taken each day for 21 days and then no pills are taken for the next 7 days. Phasic pills must be taken in the right order. During the 7 pill free days you will get a bleed.

    There are 21 active pills and 7 inactive (dummy) pills in a pack. The two types of pill look different. One pill is taken each day for 28 days with no break between packets of pills. Every day pills need to be taken in the right order. Whilst you are taking the last 7 pills in the pack (dummy pills) you will get a bleed.


    Follow the instructions that come with your packet and if you have any questions, ask a doctor, nurse or pharmacist. It's important to take the pills as instructed, because missing pills or taking them at the same time as certain medicines may make them less effective.

      The combined pill is prescribed to you by a doctor or nurse.

      Contraception is free to everyone through the NHS. You can get the combined pill at:


      • GP surgeries


      • Community contraception clinics


      • Some genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics


      • Sexual health clinics


      • Some young people's services

      GP visit

      Talking to your doctor

      Get the information you need for an informed discussion with your doctor.


      Learn more

      PP-UN-WHC-GB-0077 September 2023


      The health information on this site has been reviewed and approved by Bayer by an appropriately qualified medical reviewer. It is intended as general information only. It is not intended to replace a consultation with a healthcare professional, to provide specific medical advice or replace the patient information leaflet provided with your medicine. Treatments discussed here should be initiated under medical supervision. For full information including side effects and eligibility for treatment, please consult your healthcare professional. Always speak to your doctor or nurse for personal medical advice.


      Images on this site are stock images and for illustrative purposes only.


      Reporting side effects

      If you get any side effects whilst taking a medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed in the package leaflet. You can also report side effects directly via the yellow card scheme at By reporting side effects, you can help provide more information on the safety of medicines.