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What If I Forget to Take a Birth Control Pill? continued...

Any time you forget to take a pill, you must use another form of birth control until you finish the pill pack. When you forget to take a pill, you increase the chance of releasing an egg from your ovary. If you miss your period and have forgotten to take one or more active pills, get a pregnancy test. If you miss two periods even though you have taken all your pills on schedule, you should get a pregnancy test. 

With some pills you may not have a period. Talk with your doctor before you start taking your pills about what to expect, and then follow your doctor's instructions about what to do if you don't have a period. 

It is very important to take the mini pills (progestin only) at the exact same time each day. If you miss a pill or are more than three hours late for a pill you should take the pill as soon as you remember and use a backup method (such as a condom or spermicide) for the next 48 hours.

Are There Side Effects of Birth Control Pills?

Yes, there are side effects of birth control pills, although the majority are not serious. Side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
  • Sore or swollen breasts
  • Small amounts of blood, or spotting, between periods
  • Lighter periods
  • Mood changes

The following side effects, easily remembered by the word "ACHES," are less common but more serious. If you experience any of these, contact your doctor immediately. If you cannot reach your doctor, go to an emergency room or urgent care center for evaluation. These symptoms may indicate a serious disorder, such as liver disease, gallbladder disease, stroke, blood clots, high blood pressure, or heart disease. They include:

  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches (severe)
  • Eye problems (blurred vision)
  • Swelling or aching in the legs and thighs

Birth control pills that contain drospirenone, including YAZ and Yasmin, have been investigated by the FDA because of the possibility that they may cause an increased risk for blood clots. Drospirenone is a man-made version of the hormone progesterone. Other brands containing drospirenone include Beyaz, Safyral, Gianvi, Loryna, Ocella, Syeda, and Zarah.  

The results of the investigation are inconsistent. Some studies showed there was an increased risk while other studies showed no increased risk. The drugs are still available. A summary of the findings is contained on the packaging label. If you are taking a pill with drospirenone, talk with your doctor about your risk.

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