The Progesterone Only Pill (POP)
The POP is a contraceptive pill that only contains the hormone progesterone. It is sometimes also known as the Mini Pill. Unlike the more commonly used combined oral contraceptive pill (commonly known as The Pill), they do not contain the hormone oestrogen.
There are two broad categories of POP available in Australia. They work very differently and this affects how you take the pill and manage things if you forget a pill.
POPs that do not stop egg production/ovulation.
There are several brands of POP in this category in Australia. They include:
- Noriday 28
- Locilan 29
POPs that stop egg production/ovulation
Currently in Australia there is only one brand of this type of pill:
How does the POP work?
All types of POP have the effect of blocking the passage of sperm through the cervix into the uterus/womb. This prevents sperm from being able to fertilise eggs produced by the ovary. The ability of POPs to stop sperm passing through the cervix is short lived. This means it is crucial to take most POPs within the same 3-hour window every day.
The Slinda POP has the additional benefit of also preventing the ovary from releasing eggs. This effect is less time critical and means you need to take a pill within a 24 hour window to prevent pregnancy.
How well does it work?
- Taken correctly, the mini pill can be 99.5% effective at preventing pregnancy.
- If you miss a pill, vomit within two hours of taking a pill, are more than three hours late in taking the pill and have severe diarrhoea or take certain medications, this can reduce to 93% effective.
Is it right for me?
The POP might not be right for you if you:
- find taking a tablet at the same time each day difficult
- have been treated for breast cancer
- have severe liver disease
- are taking certain types of medication might stop the mini pill from working (see your doctor or pharmacist).
Where can I get the POP?
Starting the mini pill for the first time requires an assessment by a doctor.
They will explain how to use the mini pill and give you a prescription (script).
The cost of the mini pill is largely dependent on whether you have a Concession and/or Medicare card.
The mini pill is available from any pharmacy with a script.
- Contains a very low dose of hormones.
- Reversible, with a rapid return to usual fertility once stopped.
- Starts working quickly.
- A choice if you can’t take the hormone oestrogen.
- You can take it whilst breast feeding and can start immediately after having a baby.
Possible side effects
- Spotting (light vaginal bleeding).
- Breast tenderness.
- Mood changes.
Often these side effects lessen with time.
How do I take the POP?
A tablet from the pill packet needs to be swallowed every day. The packets look like monthly calendars to help you keep track of the days.
Microlut/Noriday/Locilan need to be taken for three consecutive days before being relied on for contraception.
It is important to remember that all POPs except Slinda MUST BE taken within the same 3-hour window of every day.
If you are taking Slinda, then you should aim to take a tablet at the same time every day but Slinda will still be working as long as you are not more than 24 hours late in taking your pill.
If you are late for a pill or miss a pill then you may be at risk of pregnancy. Refer to the Missed Pill fact sheet for POPs for more information.
What do I do if I miss a pill?
What else do I need to know?
If you do get pregnant while on the POP, stop taking it. It is safe to continue with the pregnancy, but as with any pregnancy you should seek medical support and advice.
You may find these downloads helpful:
If you want to know more about how contraception might work best for you, you can speak with one of our friendly doctors. Click here to find your closest clinic and make an appointment.
This content is provided for general information and education purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances. It is not to be relied on in substitution for specific advice from a medical professional and Family Planning Tasmania does not accept responsibility for such use. Family Planning Tasmania has taken every effort to ensure that the information is up to date and accurate, however information and knowledge is subject to change. Family Planning Tasmania advises that you always consult a medical professional for individual advice.
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