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You may know it as the mini pill or as the progestin-only pill. Either way, it’s the safe option for estrogen-sensitive women, and gives you just as much protection.

Talk to us about what type of pill you’re looking for. Get personalized recommendations and expert advice. Order your mini pill online and get it delivered from a licensed US pharmacy.

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This page was medically reviewed by , on August 02, 2022. Next review due on August 01, 2024.
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    Mini Pills / Progestin Only: Here's what we've got.



    One pill, one hormone, once a day. Birth control that's better for you if you can't take the combined pill.

    • Starting from CAD116.00

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    Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please talk to a doctor.

    What is the progestin-only birth control pill?

    Mini pills (or “progestin-only birth control pills” if you’re into the lingo) are a little different to what you might know as “The Pill.” Generally “The Pill” refers to combined birth control pills that contain two hormones, progestin and estrogen. Progestin-only tablets have just one hormone in them.

    They’re more suitable than the conventional combined pill for some women, because they don’t contain estrogen. But there’s virtually no difference in how effective they are as long as you take them correctly.

    You’ll take the progestin-only pill without a break, every day of the month. Difference being that in combined pills, you may get some inactive spacer pills (usually seven). With mini pills, all 28 in a pack are active (so they all matter).

    How does the progestin-only mini pill work?

    The progestin-only pill works by thickening the mucus in the cervix. Yep, we know. Mucus isn’t everyone’s favorite word. But what this does is make it harder for sperm to travel through, and to fertilise an egg.

    For the progestin-only mini pill to work properly, it has to be taken at the same time every day. If you are late taking the pill, it counts as missing it. The missed-pill window is shorter with some mini pills (3 hours) than it is with the combined pill (12 hours), so be sure to read the leaflet before you start.

    What are the advantages of progestin-only pills?

    One of the biggest advantages of the mini pill is that it is safer to use for some women than the combined pill, because it doesn’t contain any estrogen. You’re more likely to take the mini pill if you get migraines, if you’re breastfeeding or if you are at a higher risk of blood clots due to high blood pressure or being overweight.

    The main disadvantage is that some progestin-only pills have a shorter missed-pill window at three hours (compared to 12 hours for most combined pills).

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    Medically reviewed by
    on August 02, 2022.
    This page was medically reviewed by , on August 02, 2022. Next review due on August 01, 2024.

    How we source info.

    When we present you with stats, data, opinion or a consensus, we’ll tell you where this came from. And we’ll only present data as clinically reliable if it’s come from a reputable source, such as a state or government-funded health body, a peer-reviewed medical journal, or a recognised analytics or data body. Read more in our editorial policy.

    How effective is the progestin-only pill?

    Very effective, when it’s used correctly. There are two methods used to measure effectiveness: perfect use and typical use.

    Perfect use is taking the mini pill exactly as stated in the instructions, without making any mistakes. Effectiveness associated with this method is over 99%, meaning that in 100 women taking the pill over a year, less than one will get pregnant.

    Typical use is taking the pill correctly for the most part, but making occasional mistakes (missing a pill, or taking it late). Effectiveness for this method is thought to be around 91%, meaning that around nine in 100 women using the progestin-only pill will get pregnant over one year.

    When to start taking the progestin-only pill

    If you’re not already taking the pill or using another form of hormonal contraception, you can start taking the progestin-only pill at any point during your cycle. Or you can wait until you have your period.

    When you’re ready to start using progestin-only birth control, pick a convenient time to take it because you’ll have to take it at this time every day.

    If you wait for your period, and you start taking the mini pill within the first five days of your period, you’ll be protected from becoming pregnant right away. So you don’t need to worry about using a diaphragm or condoms.

    You might need to go with another method of birth control if you have a shorter period. Use condoms or the diaphragm until you’ve used the pill for two days.

    You won’t be protected against pregnancy right away if you start taking it at any other point during your cycle. So if you’re not on your period and start taking the progestin-only pill, make sure you use extra protection like a condom for the first seven days that you take it.

    Starting when switching from another pill

    When you switch from the combined pill or another type of progestin-only pill, you can take your first one the day after you finish the last pill in your previous pack.

    If you’re changing from the skin patch or the vaginal ring, start on the day after your patch or ring is removed. If you do this, you won’t need to use extra protection.

    Which is the best mini pill for me?

    It depends on you. And your body. If you’re sensitive to a particular progestin hormone for example, such as desogestrel, mini pills like the Camila mini pill (which contains the hormone norethindrone) could be better options for you, as they may give you fewer side effects.

    Mini pills only have a three hour window in which to remember to take them, so if you take these pills more than three hours later than normal, you’ll not be protected from getting pregnant.

    To sum up then, it’s really a question of what your body responds well to, and what it doesn’t. And with the missed pill windows, it may just be a matter of what fits your lifestyle best. We can advise you on the right pills for you, based on your health background, and you can choose your mini pill from there.

    Is there a generic progestin-only pill?

    Yes. A lot of the birth control options you know will probably be branded versions. You might know their names, their active ingredients and you might know what to expect when you start using them.

    When there isn’t one, single brand of a particular medication, and there are several versions available, these are called generics.

    There are several brands of progestin only pills available. Some might have different names, but they’re exactly the same pill in the same concentration. For example, Camila and Norethindrone are identical from a clinical point of view, but just come in different packaging because they’re made by different companies. But there shouldn’t be any difference in how well they work.

    Mini pills: FAQ

    Have something specific you want to know? Search our info below, or ask our experts a question if you can’t find what you’re looking for.

    How is Jencycla different from other birth control pills?

    When you think of the pill, you’re probably thinking of the combined pill. Jencycla is a little bit different, because it’s a mini pill. So it only contains one type of hormone, a progestin. That means it’s a good option if you’re sensitive to estrogen.

    If you’ve tried combined birth control pills before and experienced side effects, or you can’t take estrogen for another reason, Jencycla might be a good option.

    Is Jencycla similar to any other birth control pill?

    There’s a generic form of Jencycla, just called Norethindrone. It’s also available under the brand names Maeve and Movisse. Because these all have the same active ingredient in the same dose, they work in a really similar way.

    The main difference is the names, but there are a few others. The pills are made by different companies, some are more expensive than others, they might look different, and the stabilizers used in the pills can vary. They’ll have pretty much the same effect on the body, so which one you use is up to you.

    How effective is Jencycla?

    Norethindrone, the active ingredient in Jencycla, is very effective at preventing pregnancy. If you take it perfectly, it has an efficacy rate of 99.7%. So it’s an excellent choice if it works for your lifestyle.

    Will I get my period on Jencycla?

    How Jencycla affects your period varies from person to person, so you can’t know for sure before you take it. Many people find their periods become less frequent, lighter and less painful. For some people, taking Jencycla makes their periods stop altogether.

    Do I need a prescription for Jencycla?

    Yes, Jencycla is only available with a prescription. That’s because even though it’s a safe birth control pill, there are some people it might not be right for. If you’re interested in Jencycla, you just have to answer a few quick questions about your health.

    Our clinicians will check over your details and let you know what treatments might be right for you. Then you can pick the one you want, and a clinician will write your prescription and send it to the pharmacy.

    Why should I buy Jencycla online with Treated?

    At Treated, we make healthcare work for you. There’s no need to order refills or wait in line, we’ll send your birth control right to your door on the schedule you choose. Want to pause, change or cancel your subscription? You can do it at the click of a button, just by logging into your account.

    You’ll also get access to our team of expert clinicians, so if you ever have a question about Jencycla, you can message us from your Treated account. We’ll get right back to you with the help you need. We’ll also check in with you during your treatment, to make sure everything is going well with Jencycla.

    Are there side effects when using progestin-only pills?

    Just like with any other form of birth control, you might notice some side effects but they should be easy to manage. Some side effects are really common and should go away on their own after a couple of months, once your body has gotten used to the mini pill.

    The most common side effects noted include:

    • tender breasts

    • acne

    • irregular bleeding

    • changes to your mood and sex drive

    • headaches

    • nausea and vomiting

    • cysts on your ovaries (they should be harmless and won’t need treatment)

    If you get side effects that cause you discomfort and don’t go away, drop us a message. They may recommend that you try an alternative mini pill.

    More serious side effects with the progestin-only pill are rare, but it’s good to know what the symptoms are in case you do need to get medical help.

    Stop using the progestin-only pill and go to the hospital immediately if you experience:

    • signs of a blood clot (throbbing or cramping pain, feeling breathlessness suddenly, coughing up blood)

    • signs of a heart attack (cold sweat, fatigue, chest pain)

    • signs of a stroke (a sudden weakness on one side of your body, difficulty seeing out of one or both of your eyes, sudden confusion)

    Can you take the progestin-only pill with other medications?

    The progestin-only pill may interfere with other medications, which can make it less effective. It’s very important then to let us know if you’re currently taking any other medications.

    Progestin-only pills that contain norethindrone are known to interfere with:

    • St John’s wort

    • HIV medication

    • Griseofulvin (used to treat fungal infections)

    • Modafinil (treats sleeping disorders)

    • treatment for seizures

    • antibiotics

    Do you need a prescription for the progestin-only pill?

    Yes. Hormonal birth control is prescription-only in the US. Before you start taking it, we’ll need to check your health and medical history to make sure it’s safe for you as part of your consultation.

    Does the mini pill stop periods?

    The short answer is yes (in most cases), although it doesn’t stop bleeding. You may have some spotting while taking the mini pill.

    You may also get heavy bleeding on the mini pill, and you should get in touch with us if you experience this.

    Why should I buy the mini pill with Treated?

    We’re making the mini pill convenient. Tell us about your health, and we’ll recommend pills that are safe and suitable for you. Once you’ve chosen your mini pill, you can set your own delivery schedule, and the quantity of pills you want to receive from us each time.

    We believe in aftercare too. So you can ask us questions about your contraception, and get extra guidance from us whenever you like. We’ll check in with you regularly to make sure that your pill is still right for you. And if it isn’t, no bother. We’ll explore alternative options.

    How does Camila work?

    Every month, your body goes through a checklist of things to prepare for pregnancy. During ovulation, the ovary releases an egg which travels through the fallopian tubes towards the uterus. If the egg is fertilized as it travels, it attaches to the uterine wall and starts growing. If the egg remains unfertilized, you get your period.

    All of this happens because of rising and falling levels of hormones. Hormones trigger ovulation as well as smaller changes, like telling the wall of the uterus to become thicker so that it’s easier for a fertilized egg to attach itself there.

    The hormone in Camila, norethindrone, is a type of progestin. Adding it to the hormones already in your body alters what happens every month. Norethindrone increases the thickness of cervical fluid, so sperm cannot swim through and reach an egg as easily. The progestin in mini pills can also override the normal hormonal cycle, preventing ovulation to begin with.

    Coming off Camila to get pregnant: what do I do?

    While you are not likely to get pregnant on Camila, its effects wear off quickly. This is why it’s important to take it as instructed as any missed pill can mean you’re less protected within hours.

    The upside of this is that you should be able to become pregnant soon after stopping if that’s what you want. It’s recommended that you wait one cycle (for your period to return fully) so that you’ll be able to track when the baby’s due.

    Does Camila stop periods entirely?

    Not all women have withdrawal bleeds or periods on progestin-only pills. Some women may find that they have irregular spotting or bleeding between periods for the first couple of months of taking it. But this should stabilise after a short time.

    Camila bleeding needs to be monitored, particularly at the start of treatment. If you develop heavy bleeding or if it’s continuous or unpredictable, you should let us know.

    Camila or Norethindrone: which one is better for me?

    They’re both mini pills containing the same active ingredient, norethindrone, but capital-N Norethindrone is usually a little cheaper. They’re made by different companies so the pills might look different, but will work the same way and are equally effective.

    Does Camila cause weight gain?

    The evidence for Camila weight gain, or any hormonal contraceptive, is hard to find. So why is it listed as a side effect for these treatments? The causes of weight gain are hard to pinpoint, so it’s hard to say the pill definitively does not cause weight gain.

    Having said that, Camila weight loss is also listed as a side effect, so at the very least, we can say that you may experience some change in weight. If in doubt, tell us, and we can offer advice on whether other options will be better suited for you.

    Can I take Camila as an acne treatment?

    Unlike the combined pill, Camila should not be taken to treat acne. That’s because the active Camila ingredient, norethindrone, can actually worsen the condition when taken alone.

    If you suffer from acne, let us know about this during your consultation so we can factor this into the treatments we recommend to you.

    Do I need a prescription for Camila?

    You can only get Camila, or any hormonal alternative to Camila, by prescription.

    Birth control is very much an individual treatment. What works well for one person might not be suitable for someone else, which is why it’s important to get personalized recommendations from our clinician beforehand.

    Why should I order Camila online with Treated?

    Treated can help you get the birth control you’re looking for, delivered to your home, right when you need it. Tell us about your health to get tailored suggestions for contraception. Then, it’s just a case of picking the option that suits you best.

    After you've started your plan, we'll get in touch regularly to see how you're doing. Good or bad, we want to know, so we can help you settle on the birth control pill that's best for you. If you need to switch to another pill, we can help you find other options that suit you better.

    What dosage are Norethindrone pills?

    When taken daily as a hormonal birth control, Norethindrone comes in a 0.35mg tablet.
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