Minipill (progestin only) icon

Minipill 

  • 91% effective
  • Take daily
  • Prescription required
  • Contains hormones
  • No STI/STD protection
  • Lighter periods

  

What is it?
  • The minipill (also called the progestin-only pill) is a small tablet with the hormone progestin that you take daily to prevent pregnancy. 

  • Minipills come in a pack, and you swallow 1 pill every day.

  • The minipill has a lower dose of hormones than the birth control pill.

  • You must take minipills within the same 3 hours every day to be protected from pregnancy.

  • If used perfectly, the minipill is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. But people aren’t perfect. So, in reality, the minipill is 91% effective.1
  • The minipill contains the hormone progestin to stop you from getting pregnant. 

  • The hormones in the minipill work by:

    • Stopping your ovaries from releasing eggs. When eggs aren’t released, you can’t get pregnant.

    • Making the mucus in your cervix too thick for sperm to pass through. This prevents sperm from meeting an egg.
  • You can get a prescription for minipills at your medical facility. 
  • In the United States, the average cost for one month’s supply of the minipill is $50. The cost may vary depending on where you live.

  • Kaiser Permanente members may be able to get minipills at low or no cost.2   
  • Swallow 1 minipill each day at the same time. 

  • After you finish the pack of minipills, immediately start a new pack the next day.

  • Make sure you fill your prescription for the minipill so you don’t miss a day.

  • If you forget to take 1 minipill, take it as soon as you can. If you take the pill more than 3 hours late, use condoms as a backup for the next 2 days. 

  • If you forget to take 2 minipills, take 1 as soon as you can and take your next pill at the usual time. You should also use condoms for the next 2 days.
  • The minipill is 91% effective in preventing pregnancy. That’s because people don’t always use it correctly or take it on time.

  • You may have more regular, lighter, shorter, and less painful periods.

  • The minipill helps prevent or lessen acne, period cramps, and iron deficiency.

  • The minipill is temporary. You can stop using it whenever you want to try getting pregnant.

  • The minipill can be used after you have a baby and while you’re breastfeeding.

  • The minipill decreases your risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers.
  • The minipill doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs/STDs), including HIV. Even if you take the minipill, you should use a condom every time you have sex to reduce your chances of getting or spreading STIs.

  • If you don’t take the minipill on schedule every day, you’re more likely to get pregnant.

  • The minipill may cause spotting.

  • Some people may experience headache or nausea. 

  

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© 2019 Kaiser Permanente

1“Birth control pill,” Planned Parenthood, plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/birth-control-pill/how-effective-is-the-birth-control-pill, accessed August 13, 2019.

2Costs are dependent on your policy terms. For questions about your coverage, please call Member Services or view your benefit coverage documents.