Long-term contraceptive tablets (also known as birth control pills) are a type of medication designed to prevent pregnancy using a combination of synthetic versions of naturally occurring hormones called oestrogens and progesterones. There are two main types of oral contraceptive tablets:

  • Combined oral contraceptives (also called combined pill or COCs), which contain both hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) and are typically taken daily for 21 days followed by a 7-day pill free break in which bleeding (like a period) will occur. This cycle is repeated monthly.
  • Progesterone only contraceptive pills (POPs) also known as the ‘mini-pill’, which contain only the progesterone hormone and need to be taken daily, without any breaks for them to work.

Although all of our content is written and reviewed by healthcare professionals, it should not be substituted for or used as medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please speak to your doctor.

Authored Apr 22, 2021 by Joseph Issac, MPharm
Reviewed Jun 15, 2021 by Prabjeet Saundh, MPharm