Medically reviewed by Dr. Nancy Shannon, MD, PhD on January 13, 2020
With a few exceptions, you can switch to a new birth control pill by starting your new pack after finishing the last pill pack of your previous pills. You might experience temporary side effects while adjusting to your new pill.
New Pill Timing
In most cases, you can start a new birth control pill after you finish your current pill pack, including any placebo pills. On day one of your next cycle, begin the first pack of new pills. If you use this method, you won’t need backup contraception (as long as the package insert does not indicate otherwise).
If you switch from a combination pill to a progestin-only pill (also called the mini-pill), you can start taking the new pill right away. If it has been five or more days since your last period when you start your new pill, use backup contraception for two days.
If you switch from a mini-pill to a combination pill, you can start taking the new pill right away. If it has been five or more days since your last period when you start your new pill, use backup contraception for seven days.
New Pill Side Effects
You might experience minor side effects when switching to a new pill, including:
- Breast tenderness.
- Spotting or bleeding between periods.
- Mood changes.
These side effects are most noticeable when you first begin taking a new pill. Usually, the symptoms disappear after three to four months.
Adjusting to a New Pill
The following tips can help if you’re having a hard time adjusting to your new pill:
- Take pain meds: You can use medications such as Advil and Tylenol periodically to relieve cramping or headaches.
- Eat healthy and exercise: Taking good care of your body helps regulate hormones.
- Relieve stress: Stress can contribute to hormone fluctuations, so try to engage in calming, soothing activities such as meditation or yoga.