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Combined Hormonal Contraceptives (21-day regimen)

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Oral Contraceptives Mercilon, Microgynon, Yasmin, Liza, Belara Adult

Combined Hormonal Contraceptives (21-day regimen) - Dosage and How to Use

How should Combined Hormonal Contraceptives (21-day regimen) be used?

  • ​Do not stop taking your medication without checking with your healthcare professional.
  • If you are switching from other forms of contraception, please seek advice from your healthcare professional.
  • You should take this medication after food.
  • You may start taking this medication on the first or second day of your menses (if this is your first time taking hormonal contraceptives or restarting this medication after a break).
  • If you are also using it for contraceptive purposes, a barrier method of contraception (e.g. condoms), is recommended for the first 7 days of taking this medication for the first time.
  • You should take one tablet daily for 21 days in a row, preferably at the same time every day.  After completion of the pack, there will be 7 days where you do not need to take any tablets (7-day tablet-free interval), during which you will experience withdrawal bleeding (menses) within two to three days after the last tablet.
  • Start taking your next pack of medication after the 7-day tablet-free days, even if you are still having menstrual bleeding.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you forget to take a dose, you must follow the steps below to ensure that the contraceptive effect is not reduced.

Within 12 hours:
Take the missed tablet as soon as you remember. Take the next tablet at your usual time.

More than 12 hours:
If the missed tablet is within

  • Week 1 of the pack:
    • Take the missed tablet as soon as you remember, even if it means taking 2 tablets at the same time.
    • Continue to take your tablets at your usual time on the next day.
    • Use a barrier method such as a condom for the next 7 days.

If sexual intercourse happened in the previous 7 days, you may be pregnant. See your doctor for advice as soon as possible.

  • Week 2 of the pack:
    • Take the missed tablet as soon as you remember, even if it means taking 2 tablets at the same time.
    • Continue to take your tablets at your usual time on the next day.
    • If you have taken your tablets correctly in the 7 days before the first missed tablet, there is no need to use extra contraceptive precautions. However if this is not the case, or you have missed more than 1 tablet, use a barrier method such as a condom for the next 7 days.
  • Week 3 of the pack:  Depending on whether you have taken your tablets correctly in the 7 days before the first missed tablet, you would have to follow the following options: 
​No missed tablets in the last 7 days

​Take the missed tablet as soon as you remember, even if it means taking 2 tablets at the same time.

Continue to take your tablets at your usual time and start the next pack right away without the 7-day tablet free period i.e. no gap should be left between packs. Your menses may not come until the second pack is finished, but there is no need to worry. However, if your menses do not occur after the next pack is finished, you should take a pregnancy test to make sure you are not pregnant.
OR
Stop taking medication from the current pack for 7 days (7-day tablet free period). A withdrawal bleed (menses) usually occurs and then start a new pack after 7 days.

​Missed tablets in the last 7 days

​Take the missed tablet as soon as you remember, even if it means taking 2 tablets at the same time.

Continue to take your tablets at your usual time and start the next pack right away without the 7-day tablet free period i.e. no gap should be left between packs. Your menses may not come until the next pack is finished, but there is no need to worry. However, if your menses do not occur after the next pack is finished, you should take a pregnancy test to make sure you are not pregnant.
AND
Use a barrier method such as a condom for the next 7 days

**If you miss your period (especially with missed tablets), check with your doctor to find out if you are pregnant before continuing to take the next cycle of contraceptives.

If you vomit or suffer from diarrhea within 3 to 4 hours of taking this medication, the tablet may not be absorbed. This is considered a missed dose. You should then follow the instructions above.

What should I do if I overdose?

Combined Hormonal Contraceptives (21-day regimen) - Additional Information

  • Updated on Sunday, January 31, 2021
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup PSS National Medication Information Workgroup

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