Main AHCA Website

AHCA’s main website for information on Medicaid, Health Quality Assurance and the Florida Center for Health Information and Transparency.

Go >

Florida Health Information Network

This website provides information and resources relating to AHCA’s initiatives for Health Information Technology and Health Information Exchange.

Go >

Provides health education and information to compare and locate health care providers in Florida to make well-informed health care decisions.

Go >
AHCA Network of Websites

Health Education

Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

Birth control pill overdose


Birth control pills, also called oral contraceptives, are prescription medicines used to prevent pregnancy. Birth control pill overdose occurs when someone takes more than the normal or recommended amount of this medicine. This can be by accident or on purpose.

This article is for information only. Do NOT use it to treat or manage an actual overdose. If you or someone you are with overdoses, call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Poisonous Ingredient

Most birth control pills contain one of the following combinations of estrogen and progestin hormones:

  • Ethynodiol diacetate and ethinyl estradiol
  • Ethynodiol diacetate and mestranol
  • Levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol
  • Norethindrone acetate and ethinyl estradiol
  • Norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol
  • Mestranol and norethindrone
  • Mestranol and norethynodrel
  • Norgestrel and ethinyl estradiol

These birth control pills contain progestin only:

  • Norethindrone
  • Norgestrel

Other birth control pills may also contain these ingredients.

Where Found

Here are several birth control medicines, with their brand names in parentheses:

  • Ethinyl estradiol and ethynodiol diacetate (Demulen)
  • Mestranol and ethynodiol diacetate (Ovulen)
  • Levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol (Nordette, Tri-Levlen, Triphasil)
  • Norethindrone (Micronor, Nor-Q.D.)
  • Norethindrone acetate and ethinyl estradiol (Loestrin, Norlestrin)
  • Norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol (Brevicon, Ortho-Novum 1/35, Modicon, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7, Ovcon)
  • Mestranol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/50)
  • Mestranol and norethynodrel (Enovid)
  • Norgestrel (Ovrette)
  • Norgestrel and ethinyl estradiol (Lo Ovral, Ovral)

Other birth control pills may also be available.


Symptoms of an overdose of birth control pills include:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Discolored urine
  • Drowsiness
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding (2 to 7 days after the overdose)
  • Headache
  • Emotional changes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rash

Home Care

Seek medical help right away, and call poison control. Do NOT make the person throw up unless poison control or a health care provider tells you to.

Stop using the birth control pills and use other methods to prevent pregnancy, if desired. The overdose is NOT likely to be life-threatening.

Before Calling Emergency

Have this information ready:

  • Person's age, weight, and condition
  • The name of the medicine (ingredients and strength, if known)
  • When it was swallowed
  • The amount swallowed
  • If the medicine was prescribed for the person

Poison Control

The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.

This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

A trip to the emergency room (ER) will probably not be necessary. If you do go, take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.

If an ER visit is needed, the provider will measure and monitor the person's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. The person may receive:

  • Activated charcoal (in extreme cases)
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Medicines to treat symptoms

Outlook (Prognosis)

Serious symptoms are very unlikely.


Kester M, Karpa KD, Vrana KE. Endocrine pharmacology. In: Kester M, Karpa KD, Vrana KE, eds. Elsevier's Integrated Review Pharmacology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 12.

Nikkanen HE, Shannon MW. Endocrine toxicology. In: Shannon MW, Borron SW, Burns MJ, eds. Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2007:chap 16.

Review Date:7/11/2015
Reviewed By:Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

Outcome Data

No data available for this condition/procedure.

Health Encyclopedia

More Features

We Appreciate Your Feedback
1. Did you find this information useful?

2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?