What happens if I miss a Cerelle pill?

by Dr Fran Yarlett · 27th February 2023

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Reviewed by Dr Melanie Davis-Hall on 27th February 2023

Pill packet and tracking calendar

What’s the lowdown?

  • The Cerelle pill should be taken at the same time every day
  • It’s important to understand your safe window, missed pill rules and when to seek help
  • If you have only missed one pill, there are rules to follow to help prevent pregnancy


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The Cerelle pill is a brand of progestogen only pill which is a popular choice for both its benefits and low risk to people using it. It’s currently rated as the number 1 brand of progestogen only pill by The Lowdown community.

Cerelle works by preventing your body from releasing an egg each month, thickening the cervical mucus so sperm can’t enter the womb and by thinning out the womb lining to prevent a fertilised egg implanting into the womb and forming a pregnancy. If taken perfectly, Cerelle is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. 

Cerelle is designed to be taken every single day, which should in theory make it easier to remember. However, if you miss a Cerelle pill occasionally, you’re not alone and it’s not uncommon! It’s important for you to know exactly what to do if you have missed a pill, and The Lowdown is here to help make things easier.

Do you need to take Cerelle at the same time every day?

Ideally, the Cerelle pill should be taken at the same time every day. This makes sure it’s working effectively and can minimise side effects such as irregular spotting or bleeding. If there is slight variation in the time you take it each day, you should still be protected against pregnancy but it’s important to understand your safe window and missed pill rules and when to seek help.

How late is considered a missed Cerelle pill?

The safe window in which to take the Cerelle pill is 12 hours. This means that you have 12 hours after the usual time you take your pill to remember it. If you are over 12 hours late to take your pill, this is a missed pill.

What happens if you miss one Cerelle pill?

Missing one day’s worth of Cerelle means that you need to follow specific instructions to avoid an accidental pregnancy. The easiest way to work out what to do is by using our simple-to-follow missed pill calculator

Missed pill calculator | The Lowdown

If you have missed one pill, take it as soon as you remember, even if this means taking 2 pills on the same day. Then take your next pill at your usual time.

For the next 48 hours after taking the next pill, avoid having sex or use condoms to give Cerelle time to become effective again.

If you had unprotected sex (sex without a condom) after your missed pill OR within the 48 hours after restarting your pill, you should think about using emergency contraception such as the morning-after pill or the copper coil.

If you think you need emergency contraception, speak to your healthcare professional or order the morning-after pill online.

What happens if you miss two Cerelle pills?

If you have missed two Cerelle pills, only take one as soon as you remember. You don’t need to take 2 or 3 together! Then follow the missed pill calculator or the guidance as above.

Can you get pregnant if you forget a Cerelle pill?

If you forget to take a Cerelle pill, pregnancy is a possibility IF you have sex without a condom more than 12 hours after your last pill was due to be taken OR in the 48 hours after you have remembered to start taking your pill again.

If this applies to you, it’s really encouraged to look into emergency contraception either via speaking to your healthcare professional, local sexual clinic or buying the morning after pill.

How to remember to take your Cerelle pill

The easiest way to avoid the drama of worrying about missed Cerelle pills and emergency contraception is to have a really great way of remembering to take it every day. Some people use an alarm on their phone or watch, while others place their Cerelle pills next to something they use every day such as a toothbrush or make-up bag. It’s best to find a method of remembering that is personal to you. After a while, hopefully taking your pill will become a habit and you’ll remember without even thinking!

If you still find yourself missing Cerelle pills, it might be time to consider a switch. Use our recommender tool to find the best contraception for you. A common reason for people to miss a pill is by forgetting to renew their prescription and suddenly ending up without any…..we call this the “oh s**t” moment at The Lowdown.

Contraception recommender | The Lowdown

The most convenient way to avoid this is to have your pill delivered automatically to your door. Order the pill online through The Lowdown to subscribe for delivery every 3, 6 or 12 months.

One of The Lowdown’s fab Clinical Directors, Dr Frances Yarlett MBBCh (Hons) BSc (Hons) MRCP (2016) MRCGP DFSRH completed her medical training from Cardiff University in 2013. She is currently working as a salaried GP partner in Sheffield with an interest in complex medical patients and women’s health. Fran is really passionate about patient choice and wants to empower women to take control of their bodies and contraception needs.