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Where to get the contraceptive pill?

Are you interested in going on the contraceptive pill, but unsure where to start?

The contraceptive pill is freely available in the UK - even to those under the age of 16. It’s used to prevent unwanted pregnancies and, when used correctly, it has a 99% success rate. The pill can also be used to help regulate periods, and help those with endometriosis and pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). It has also been known to help people with acute period pains.

The pill can’t be purchased over-the-counter from your local chemist or shop; you must get a prescription from your doctor. A prescription must be collected from your doctor or a healthcare professional.

If you’re unsure how to go about getting the contraceptive pill, there are fortunately plenty of places and people who can help. Whether online or in person, there are many discreet and affordable options available.

From Your Doctor

In order to get the contraceptive pill from your doctor, you will need to make a face-to-face appointment. At this appointment, you will be asked basic questions about your general health, such as whether you smoke and how active you are. You may be asked details about your sexual activity. This is to determine which contraceptive method is best suited for you. Don’t be embarrassed; they won’t ask for details, and everything is kept in the strictest confidence.

After some questions, the doctor will then advise which contraceptive is best for you. If that is the pill, they will then discuss the different types of pill available. After you have come to an agreement, they will inform you how to take your pill properly.

They may advise another contraceptive if you are unable to guarantee that you’ll be able to take it at the same time each day, or if you suffer from migraines. The pill can affect other medications, so an in-depth discussion with your doctor will ensure you are getting the right pill for you.

If you are under 16, you can still visit your doctor. They will be discreet and won’t tell your parents unless they are concerned about your welfare.

Once you've come to an agreement, your doctor will write you a prescription which you can take to your pharmacy to collect free of charge.

You can also acquire a prescription for the contraceptive pill from a sexual health clinic. This option can be preferable for young people who don’t want to visit their regular family GP. You will still need to speak with a healthcare professional before they hand out a prescription.

From a Pharmacy

Once you have a prescription from your doctor, it's time to pick up your prescription.

One of the simplest ways you can do this is by visiting your local pharmacy. They will ask you to tick which box refers to you (free contraceptive) and to sign the form, then you will be required to wait while they fetch your prescription for you.

Contraceptive pills are exempt from a prescription charge, which incurs for many medicines. Furthermore, you do not need a Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC).

Your local pharmacy may offer the ability to deliver your prescription to your door on a regular basis. While this is becoming a widely more popular option for many people, not all pharmacies offer this service so it's best to ask.

In some cases, a doctor's surgery may have an on-site pharmacy, enabling you to pick up your prescription from your doctor and get it dispensed straight away. Alternatively, there may be a nearby pharmacy which can dispense your prescription for you on the way home.

From an Online Pharmacy

It's not always possible to get a prescription for your contraceptive pill, whether it's due to your local pharmacy not having stock of your regular contraceptive, your doctor being away, living remotely or simply being unable to get to your pharmacy for whatever reason.

In these instances, you can use a private online site like Prescription Doctor to get a prescription for your regular contraceptive pill from wherever you are.

The process of acquiring an online prescription are much the same as getting a prescription from a brick and mortar pharmacy. You will need to complete an online form which asks you various questions about your health.

You can also raise any concerns you may have about your choice of contraception with the online doctor via email. This makes it quick and convenient to get informed about your health and condition.

Unlike a regular pharmacy, however, your contraceptive will be delivered straight to your door. When you order your contraceptive pill online from Prescription Doctor, our doctor will issue a prescription for our UK based pharmacy to dispense, negating the necessity for you to nominate a pharmacy of your choice to dispense your items. This of course has benefits, such as it being an all-in-one service which includes the prescription, the items and the delivery.

Private online pharmacies package medicines in discreet packaging, so there's no need to be embarrassed if someone else signs for your parcel - they will be none the wiser as to the contents of the package unless they break the tamper-proof seal. Typically, your medicine is delivered the very next day via a tracked courier service, so you can see when the item will be delivered.

Before you buy contraceptive pills online, it's best to arrange an appointment with your doctor for a face-to-face appointment. Your doctor will be able to discuss your options with you, based on your medical condition, and make an appropriate assessment of your health.

However, if you've already been prescribed a contraceptive by your doctor, you can use an online private pharmacy to get your medicine delivered to you the next day.

Using a private online pharmacy can be useful in cases where, as mentioned previously, you are unable to get to your local pharmacy in person. But using an online private pharmacy can also be a viable option for those who are due to go on holiday and want to ensure they have enough contraceptive pills to last the trip, those who are only staying within the UK for a short while, or those who have recently moved homes and haven't signed up with a GP yet.

Whether you choose to pick up your contraceptive pill in person or online, there are benefits and caveats to both.

Regardless of where you get your contraceptive pill, you should always speak to your healthcare provider before purchasing medications or prescriptions online to ensure it if a safe option for you.

Authored & Reviewed By

Mohamed Imran Lakhi

MPharm - Lead Pharmacist
Imran Lakhi is the superintendent pharmacist and founder at Prescription Doctor. He has been at the core of our team.

Published on: 05/06/2020 Reviewed on: 15/01/2024
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