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Progestin-only pills (POPs) for contraception

Andrew M Kaunitz, MD
Section Editor
Courtney A Schreiber, MD, MPH
Deputy Editor
Kristen Eckler, MD, FACOG


Progestin-only contraception is an option for women in whom an estrogen-containing contraceptive is either contraindicated or causes additional health concerns. In addition to progestin-only pills, other types of progestin-only contraceptives include:

Progestin injections (see "Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate for contraception")

Progestin implants (eg, Nexplanon, Jadelle) (see "Etonogestrel contraceptive implant")

Intrauterine contraception (eg, Mirena, Skyla) (see "Intrauterine contraception: Devices, candidates, and selection")


Norethindrone — Only one progestin-only contraceptive pill (POP) formulation is marketed in the United States: norethindrone 0.35 mg tablets (Micronor, Nor-QD, and generics). The progestin dose is substantially lower than the dose in any combination oral contraceptive. It is dispensed in packs of 28 active pills, which are taken continuously (ie, no pill free or nonhormonal pill week) [1]. Unless otherwise noted, the information on POPs in this topic primarily applies to norethindrone POPs.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Dec 14, 2016.
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