Information about how to go on the pill and when to seek medical advice. Some oral contraceptives can be sold over the counter after a consultation with a pharmacist (conditions apply.)
Talk with your health professional
There are some choices about which type of pill to take. Contraceptive pills are safe but not all types are suitable for all women. It is good to have this discussion with your doctor, nurse practitioner, registered nurse or pharmacist prescriber.
See your doctor, nurse practitioner, registered nurse or pharmacist prescriber when:
- you are considering your options for contraception for the first time
- you are considering changing your type of contraceptive
- your health or medical history has changed.
First-time pill prescription
Your doctor, nurse practitioner, registered nurse or pharmacist prescriber will discuss contraceptive options with you that best fit your health.
If oral contraceptives are the best option, you will be given a prescription that can be filled at a pharmacy.
You can choose to continue seeing your doctor, nurse practitioner, registered nurse or pharmacist prescriber to obtain a prescription for the contraceptive pill.
Already have a pill prescription
Some brands of contraceptive pills are available over-the-counter from your pharmacist if the eligibility criteria are met. These include pills that contain desogestrel, ethinylestradiol, norethisterone and levonorgestrel.
Eligibility criteria to get contraceptive pills from a pharmacist
Women who have previously been prescribed a contraceptive pill within the last three years and who are (one of the following):
- from New Zealand who has run out of her contraception pill
- from overseas who has run out of her contraceptive pill
- collecting the emergency contraceptive pill and are a previous contraceptive pill user
- wanting to restart the contraceptive pill and have used it before
- wanting the contraceptive pill after having a baby and have used it before. (If you are breastfeeding you can be given a progesterone-only pill and will be referred back to your doctor).
Talk to your pharmacist
If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible to get over the counter oral contraceptives, discuss this with your pharmacist.