How to take Mercilon pills
Mercilon comes in strips of 21 pills, with a day of the week marked alongside each pill. You should take the pills according to the correct day of the week, and follow the direction of the arrows on the strip.
If you start to take Mercilon on the first day of your period, your protection from pregnancy is immediate.
If your period has already started, start taking Mercilon on day five of your cycle whether your bleeding has stopped or not. You’ll need to use additional contraception, such as condoms, for the first seven days, while the pill takes effect in the body.
Take one pill at the same time every day, until you have used all 21 pills. You can swallow the pills with water if you’d prefer, but don’t chew them.
After you’ve taken all 21 pills, have a seven-day, pill-free break. So if you take the last pill from the strip on a Friday, take the first pill from the new strip on the Saturday of the following week.
A few days after taking the last pill from the strip, you should get a withdrawal bleed, like a period. This bleed may still be continuing when you start your next strip of pills; this is fine - even if you’re still bleeding, start your new strip of pills.
You should always read the information leaflet that comes with your treatment before using Mercilon.
Are there other ways you can take Mercilon?
Yes. Besides taking Mercilon for 21 days and then having a 7-day break from it, you can also take it as a 28-day pill or on a more extended basis.
As a 28-day pill, you take a pill every day, with no breaks in between strips of pills. If you decide to go with extended use, you take 1 pill every day for nine weeks, and then have either a four or seven day break from pills.
If you would prefer to take Mercilon in these ways, let our clinician know during your consultation, and they can advise you.
What to do about a Mercilon missed pill
If less than 12 hours have passed since you missed a pill, don’t worry. Your protection from pregnancy shouldn’t be affected. Just take the pill you missed immediately (so two pills in one day if you have to).
If more than 12 hours have passed, or if you have missed more than one pill, take the pill you missed most recently immediately. Leave any pills you missed earlier than this in the strip. Then take any pills that follow as you normally would (this may involve taking two pills in one day). You should use extra contraception, such as condoms, for the next seven days.
Depending on how many pills there are left in your pack - more or fewer than seven - you might need to skip the pill free break at the end. Refer to the instruction leaflet for more info on what to do.
This page was medically reviewed by Dr Daniel Atkinson, GP Clinical Lead
on August 02, 2022. Next review due on August 01, 2024.