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"I took my birth control pill close to 20 minutes late. Will that affect my birth control? "

ZocdocAnswersI took my birth control pill close to 20 minutes late. Will that affect my birth control?


I am taking Orsythia.


In order to be completely sure, I recommend that you speak with your doctor. Most oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) are designed to be taken at nearly the same time every single day for maximal effectiveness. This is because your body will slowly metabolize, or break down, the medication that is included in each one over a relatively constant rate. Some medications may be broken down at faster or slower rates than others, which would affect how often you need to take the medication. Additionally, some medications can be dosed in higher amounts without having negative side effects while remaining effective. This allows doctors to prescribe higher doses which need fewer doses than other medications that cause side effects at lower levels. This is described as the therapeutic window, and is the range in which the medication is effective without causing problems. For OCPs the therapeutic window varies by medication, with some having a tighter range than others. Fortunately, most of them offer some leeway, and it is not likely that being less than 20 minutes later than recommended will affect the efficacy of these medications. In order to be completely sure, you can talk to your doctor, read the package insert, talk to your pharmacist, or call the manufacturer. Again, please speak with your doctor for more information about this.

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