Birth Control: Progestin-Only Contraceptive Pills

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Progestin-only contraceptive pills are a form of daily birth control that contains the hormone progestin. This method does not contain estrogen. Progestin is much like a hormone made naturally in your body. Depending on the type, progestin-only contraceptive pills prevent pregnancy by changing the mucus at the cervix to help keep sperm from reaching an egg or preventing ovulation.

Advantages of Progestin-only Contraceptive Pills

  • 91% effective against pregnancy with typical use
  • Do not contain estrogen
  • Safe to use right after giving birth and while breastfeeding

Disadvantages of Progestin-only Contraceptive Pills

  • Irregular bleeding and spotting
  • Possible side effects include: irregular periods, weight gain, headache, acne, ovarian cysts, and change in mood.

How to Use It

  • It is important to take your pill at the same time every day at a time of your choosing.
  • If you miss a dose of your progestin-only pill, you should look at the package insert for your medication for instructions for what to do. You can also call or ask your pharmacist what you should do when you miss a pill. Emergency contraception (EC) should be considered if you have had unprotected or inadequately protected sex.
  • Vomiting and severe diarrhea can keep your progestin-only pill from working well. If this happens, you should look at the package insert or talk with your pharmacist about what you should do.


Ectopic pregnancy: If you do get pregnant, there is an increased risk of the fertilized egg implanting outside of the uterus. This is very dangerous and is a medical emergency.

Your may need to get bloodwork if you are on medicines that interact with Slynd®.

Who Cannot Use It

The progestin-only contraceptive pill should not be taken by women who:

  • Have a history of breast cancer.
  • Have lupus with certain antibodies.
  • Have severe liver disease or liver tumors.
  • Have had certain bariatric surgeries.
  • Use certain seizure medicines or rifampin.

Tell your health care provider if you have any of these risk factors or conditions, or any other medical concerns.

When to Call the Doctor

Call the doctor or health care provider if you:

  • Think you might be pregnant.
  • Think you might have a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
  • Miss a period or are late starting your period.
  • Have new or worsening headaches.
  • Have depression or change in mood.

Preventing STIs

The progestin-only contraceptive pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Condoms are the best way for sexually active people to reduce the risk of infection. Always use a condom when you have sex. Get yearly health check-ups, including testing for STIs.

Birth Control: Progestin-Only Contraceptive Pills (PDF), Spanish (PDF), Somali (PDF)

HH-IV-192 ©2017, Revised 2021, Nationwide Children’s Hospital