5.6  Side-effects and drug interactions

5.6.1  Common side-effects

Most women who take the pill do not develop any side-effects. However, a small number of women develop nausea, headaches, sore breasts, mood changes, spotting between periods, or irregular bleeding. These side-effects usually go away within days or weeks of starting the pill. If they persist, a different brand of pill may suit better.

Other side-effects are less common and include tiredness, changes in sex drive, skin changes and mood changes. Although these are unusual, if the user experiences such problems for a prolonged period you should advise them to see a doctor or health officer.

  • The pill sometimes causes an increase in blood pressure (hypertension). In this case, how would you best advise the user?

  • The best advice to give is that those who are using oral contraceptives and complain about having hypertension need to have their blood pressure checked every six months. The pill may need to be stopped if their blood pressure becomes too high.

5.5.4  Disadvantages of mini-pills

5.6.2  Management of common side effects