What To Do If You Accidentally Take Two Birth Control Pills

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses what to do if you accidentally take two birth control pills in one day.

Question

I accidentally took two pills in one day. I thought I missed a pill but in reality, I did not and now I am supposed to take my last active pill tonight but I do not have it. what do I do?

Asked by Sam On Jul 16, 2022

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Published Jul 16, 2022
Last updated Feb 23, 2024

Key points

  • Taking an extra dose of your birth control pills is a common mistake and generally does not cause any harm. You may experience mild side effects, but you will not be at an increased risk of pregnancy.
  • Be sure to take your next dose as scheduled.
  • You will be one pill short at the end of your birth control pack. You can either make up this dose by taking a pill from a spare pack, or starting your next pack one day early.

Taking two birth control pills by accident is a fairly common mistake and is easy to rectify. When this does happen, be sure to get right back on schedule and take your next pill, the next day, as scheduled (even though you are now one day ahead).

When you take an extra birth control pill, it is important to be aware that you may experience side effects from the extra dose of hormones, such as:

  • Nausea
  • Spotting

However, you will not be at an increased risk of pregnancy.

Correcting Days After Taking Two Pills At Once

The most important thing here, is, as mentioned, to be sure to take your next dose as scheduled. However, when you accidentally take two birth control pills on the same day, you will be one pill "short" at the end of your pack. 

The easiest remedy to this situation is to simply take a replacement dose from another, or "spare" pack of birth control pills. However, this isn't always an option as many individuals don't have an extra pack to take a replacement dose from.

You could potentially go to your pharmacy to see if your insurance will pay for an extra pack of birth control pills, but most likely you will have to pay out of pocket as the insurance company may see the fill as "too soon". Additionally, you could reach out to your doctor to see if they have "samples" or other recommendations to replace your missing dose.

If you are unable to take a replacement pill, you will then be finishing your birth control pack one day sooner than usual, and therefore, starting your next pack one day sooner than usual. 

When starting your next pack after missing the last day of your last pack, it is not recommended to "miss" your first dose in order to start your pack on your usual day. This can increase your risk of pregnancy.

However, some individuals may still choose to do this and if you choose this route, be sure to follow directions for "What To Do When You Miss Pills" in the package insert of your birth control pill product for missing pills in the first week. You'll generally want to use backup birth control for the first week in these cases.

Additional Information

If you can't take a birth control pill to replace your missing last day, you may experience menses, spotting, or bleeding earlier than usual, since you are finishing your pills one day sooner. Your cycle should return to normal after 1 to 2 cycles of consistent birth control pill use.

Lastly, most sources state that missing your last dose of active pills does not increase the risk of pregnancy, but this could vary by birth control pill product. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, you may want to use backup contraception for your placebo week and 7 consecutive days of active pills once you start your pack again.

References

  • An overview of oral contraceptives: mechanism of action and clinical use, PubMed

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 13 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical, program development, and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication-related questions! Dr. Brian Staiger also has herbalist training and educational certificates in the field of medical ethnobotany. Feel free to send him an email at [email protected]! You can also connect with Dr. Brian Staiger on LinkedIn.

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