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I want to switch from one birth control brand to another, how do I do that and maintain pregnancy protection?

Dr. Betty Acker

Medically reviewed by Dr. Betty Acker, MD on December 21, 2020

Switching brands of birth control may seem like an intimidating process, but in most cases, it’s actually quite easy to do. Different birth control formulas have different mixes of hormones, and people may find that certain ones simply work better for their bodies than others. So don’t be afraid to make changes if you are not satisfied with your current birth control.  

Sometimes you may want to switch more than just brands and opt for a new method of birth control entirely. Here’s what you need to know about switching up your birth control:

Switching Birth Control Pill Brands

People who want to switch between two different types of birth control pills have a couple of options. The first and simplest is starting the new brand immediately. Once you receive your new brand of birth control, you can begin taking it immediately, even if you’re in the middle of a pack of your old birth control. You’ll be protected against pregnancy the entire time. It is important to note, however, that switching birth control brands in the middle of a pack may temporarily increase your risk of spotting or irregular bleeding.

If possible, it’s easiest to wait to finish your current pack of birth control pills before switching to your new brand. This way, as few pills go to waste as possible and you remain on your established cycle. Remember that both of these options for switching birth control brands only work if you’re switching from one combination pill — a pill that contains both estrogen and progestin — to another.

Switching from Combination Pills to Progestin-Only Pills

Switching from combination birth control pills to progestin-only birth control pills, or minipills, means altering the hormones you are putting into your body, so some additional precautions need to be taken in order to minimize the risk of pregnancy. As with switching from combination pill to another combination pill, you can switch to mini-pills either in the middle of a pack or once you’re finished with a pack. 

Once you start taking the minipill, you’ll need to use another form of birth control such as condoms for 48 hours afterwards in order to let your body adjust to the new hormone levels. After 48 hours of use, the mini-pill will become fully effective. 

Switching Birth Control Methods

If you’re switching between different birth control methods entirely, such as from the birth control patch or the birth control ring, you’ll need to allow for a little overlap between methods in order to help your body in the adjustment process. Start the new method but keep going with your old method for a day or so before you stop it. 

For methods of birth control that require application or insertion by a medical professional such as the IUD or the implant, consult with your doctor about how best to transition from your current birth control.

Starting New Birth Control After Taking Time Off

If you’re hoping to start a new brand or method of birth control and you’ve either taken time off of your previous brand or haven’t been using it irregularly, you’ll have to act as though you’re starting it for the first time. 

Depending on the method of birth control you’re using and when you begin to take it, you could be protected immediately or it could take between 2 and 7 days for your hormone levels to readjust. Ask your medical provider for more information.

Nurx can help you switch from one birth control brand to another or help you adopt a new method entirely — whatever works best for you. Contact one of our medical experts today to learn about how Nurx can get the right birth control for you. 

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Birth control from Nurx costs as little as $0 with insurance or $15 without insurance.

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