What Happens If You Take Expired Birth Control Pills?

What Happens If You Take Expired Birth Control Pills?

Do you ever wonder how birth control pills function? Indeed, they are a form of hormonal contraceptives that come in two primary forms—this combination of pills and minipills. The first type contains estrogen and progestin, while the second only contains progestin.

These drugs do three important things to prevent pregnancy. First, they inhibit ovulation, which means there is no egg release. Second, they cause the lining of the cervix to thicken. Well, this makes it difficult for sperm to reach an egg. Thirdly, they make the uterus lining thinner. Hence, it is difficult for a fertilized egg to implant itself.

But what happens if you take expired birth control pills? Let us see more details on this.

Taking Expired Birth Control Pills 

You risk getting pregnant if you have somehow used already expired birth control pills. Many agencies suggest drug manufacturers play an excellent report in showcasing any sort of advice to customers, especially in terms of medication. The pharmacists suggest that those who sell these products are responsible for indicating when they will expire. If it’s a month with no year stated, it shows that it comes on the last day of such month, which is its expiration date. When your tablets are set to expire in May, you can still use them until May only.

It is necessary to dispose of expired birth control pills properly. Look for the disposal information in the package or find a drug drop-off program near you. Most chemists do not exchange old pill packs for new ones.

When you trash expired tablets, follow these steps from the FDA:

1. Liquefy tablets with some disgusting stuff.

2. Put this mixture in a sealed plastic bag or any other receptacle.

3. Throw it away simply.

Source: Freepik

What Happens If You Take Expired Birth Control Pills?

Can I take an expired birth control? Well, the concise answer is no. The reason of why lies in the expiration date of contraceptive pills. The date written acts as a guiding line, showing that producers can’t be assured of their effectiveness in terms of health.

Even though taking out-of-date birth control is less lethal as compared to other drugs, it still has its risks. Mainly, active components found in oral contraceptives remain stable and effective for a long time. However, reduced efficiency is a major problem linked to an outdated birth control pill.

Several steps could help decrease hazards that come along with having outdated birth control. It would be better to get another prescription if it were written over two years ago. This is because even if they look the same, they may lose their value when ingested. Before using any form of contraception, it is essential to consult with qualified medical personnel to ensure safe and effective usage.

The appropriate way of disposing of these expiration pills correctly involves safety precautions. Either trash bin or flush it directly. One may contact his nearest pharmacy to learn more about available disposal procedures. Sometimes, directions on how to destroy such medicines may be given on the packet itself.

If swallowed by mistake, expired contraceptives usually are not dangerous but you might see some side effects of taking expired birth control pills. Over time, the hormonal components in the tablets break down, reducing their effectiveness. However, someone should take into consideration any possible health impacts.

In other words, the birth control expiration date is a safety measure. Proper disposal and timely renewal of medications are crucial for maintaining effectiveness and safety.

Source: Freepik

What To Do With Expired Birth Control Pills?

1. In case you find that your birth control pills have expired, discard them. Otherwise, get a brand-new pack.

2. Use some other method, such as condoms, until you have been retaking the pill continuously for seven days. This contraceptive method ensures guaranteed protection.

3. According to FDA guidelines, Place the medication in a plastic bag before throwing it away.

4. Your personal information on the packaging must be crossed out or removed to enhance security before disposal.

5. As of now, it is uncertain to know for how long contraceptives last, but until then, using an expired pill is not the most secure option.

To Sum It Up

Lastly, we must always not forget that outdated birth control might not be as risky as we commonly think they are. Such studies, including one at the Center for Space Medicine and Department of Pharmacology, suggest that many drugs are still helpful though their expiry dates have passed. Nonetheless, this research is not that diverse. Thus, it is always better to follow instructions from manufacturers when getting rid of expired drugs. Therefore, people need to keep up-to-date with developments and take precautions necessary to preserve safety without thinking that much, take immediate steps to discard expired birth control pills and embrace other protective mechanisms. Do this to ensure ongoing safety and efficiency in the area of contraception. Be aware and put health always first.


Galan, N. (Medically reviewed). (2016, December 18). Why Birth Control Pills Expire. Healthline.

Scharping, N. (Author). (n.d.). Does Expired Birth Control Work? Adyn.

Hana Evans

Hana Evans

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