Contraceptive Pearl: Switching Contraceptive Methods

Patients often switch from one contraceptive method to another. For example, a patient who has trouble remembering to take a pill daily may change from an oral contraceptive to an implant.

To minimize the risk of an unintended pregnancy, patients should avoid gaps between methods. That is, patients should go straight from one method to the other without waiting for a period. In some cases, overlap should occur between the old method and the new one. Backup methods (such as spermicide or condoms) are a good idea if a patient does not want to have overlap between the old method and the new method.


Helpful Resources

How to Switch Birth Control Methods



Lesnewski R, Prine L, Ginzburg R. Preventing Gaps When Switching Contraceptives. American Family Physician. Published March 1, 2011. Accessed February 1, 2018.

Grady WR, Billy JG, Klepinger, DH. Contraceptive Method Switching in the United States. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 2002; 34(3):135-145. doi:



The Reproductive Health Access Project does not accept funding from pharmaceutical companies. We do not promote specific brands of medication or contraception. The information in the Contraceptive Pearls is unbiased, based on science alone.

Contraceptive Pearls

This monthly clinical e-newsletter highlights evidence-based best practice for contraceptive care

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