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A 27-year-old female asked:

I'm on alesse. i heard being on the same pill for years can make it not work as good. true or false. and how to tell if it's not working properly.

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics 33 years experience
Think as a scientist: Suppose a failure rate is 1 chance of getting pregnant in 20 years of birth control pill use and suppose she takes pills from ages 17-36. She might never get pregnant while on pills, or she might get pregnant at age 20 on pills, or she might get pregnant at age 36. If she gets pregnant at 36, should she tell people her pill stopped working after 20 years? No. It merely happened that way by chance.
Dr. Wayne Ingram
Specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology
False: A contraceptive pill at therapeutic blood levels will continue to work "indefinitely". A failure of the pill is pregnancy itself, most often caused by failure of the patient to take it as prescribed.

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Last updated Mar 16, 2021

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