Combined Pill

  • The Combined pill is usually referred to as ‘the pill’.
  • It contains two hormones – oestrogen and progestogen.
  • There are many different types of Pill to choose from

The Pill is one of the most effective methods of contraception. If taken properly the pill is more than 99% effective. This means it is very effective at preventing pregnancy but gives no protection against sexually transmitted infections.

How effective is the pill/ How well does the pill work?
If taken properly the pill is more than 99% effective. This means that less than one woman out of every 100 using the pill will become pregnant each year.

What makes the pill less effective?

  • Missing two or more pills
  • Taking your pill more than 24 hours late.
  • Severe and prolonged diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Some medications e.g. antibiotics may stop the pill working properly
  • Some complimentary therapies e.g. St Johns Wort may stop the pill working properly


There are risks associated with taking the pill, they are however uncommon. For most women the benefits of taking the pill outweigh the possible risk.

When you attend a clinic for the Pill, a full medical history will be taken to assess your suitability for this method of contraception.

If you are taking the Pill it is very important to see a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest pain
  • Breathlessness
  • Painful swelling in your leg
  • Unusual headaches or migraines that are worse than usual
  • Any visual disturbances e.g. flashing lights
  • Jaundice – yellow skin