BCP: how long to take effect?
December 19, 2012 11:13 AM   Subscribe

YANAD or a pharmacist, etc., but maybe you give me some idea how long I need to take my birth control pill before it is effective as contraception.

I just began taking Reclipsen, a generic monophasic combination pill. I hadn't been using anything before that. I started the pack the Sunday after my period (which began last Friday, so this is day 4). How long does it take to become effective as a contraceptive?

I swear, this is not in the product information. The Walgreen's online pharmacist could not find it either. Online, I've found people saying anything from "immediately", to "7 days", to "finish a full pack".

I promise I will not rely on the internet (possibly unless someone can direct me to an official manufacturer's website or something).
posted by Kriesa to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
Best answer: IANAD, IANYD, IANAP, IANYP. From WebMD:
If this is the first time you are using this medication and you are not switching from another form of hormonal birth control (e.g., patch, other birth control pills), take the first tablet in the pack on the first Sunday following the beginning of your menstrual period or on the first day of your period. If your period begins on a Sunday, begin taking this medication on that day. For the first cycle of use only, use an additional form of non-hormonal birth control (e.g., condoms, spermicide) for the first 7 days to prevent pregnancy until the medication has enough time to work. If you start on the first day of your period, you do not need to use back-up birth control the first week.
But just call your pharmacist.
posted by The Michael The at 11:18 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Call your local Planned Parenthood and ask if there's an advice nurse available or call the office of the doctor who wrote the prescription. It's odd that it the information is not in the drug insert, but your doctor's office should answer this question for you, over the phone, free of charge. If they don't, find a new doctor and call Planned Parenthood.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:26 AM on December 19, 2012

IANAD but if it's the first time you've ever taken it, follow the instructions. When I started mine back in the day, I was told to give it one month/cycle, just in case.
posted by floweredfish at 11:54 AM on December 19, 2012

Just to be safe, I'd use a backup method for at least 1 full cycle.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 12:30 PM on December 19, 2012

I believe it is immediately or 7 days. So there's that.
posted by coolsara at 1:52 PM on December 19, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks. In case anyone else references this question, I found a PDF on the manufacturer's website (Watson Labs) that's more detailed than the insert I got. It says 7 days, with a Sunday-after-period start.

I appreciate the help; I know calling the pharmacist or doctor is the obvious answer, but I have a tough time during business hours finding a place for private phone calls.
posted by Kriesa at 3:41 PM on December 19, 2012

All women are protected after seven days, or immediately if you start at the beginning of your period. I really, really wish people would stop spreading the misinformation that birth control pills take a month to be effective. It's just not true. Seven days!
posted by Violet Hour at 7:33 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

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