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Sample packs of 'Ovulen' oral contraceptive pills, England, 1966-1968

Blister packs reminded women when to take the pill. Manufacturers designed special packaging such as this soon after the oral contraceptive pill was launched in the 1960s. Monophasic pills such as this packet of Ovulen (shown open on the top right) are taken for 21 days, at the same time each day, with a week in between packets. The pill suppresses ovulation, which is the release of eggs into the womb. They also make it difficult for sperm to reach an egg, or for an egg to implant itself in the lining of the womb. Product-maker Searle also made ‘Enovid’, the first oral contraceptive approved for use in the United Kingdom in 1961. The pills are shown with other oral contraceptives.

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Glossary: packet

A small package or parcel, usually containing an object or objects.

Glossary: contraception

The use of methods and techniques to prevent pregnancy from sex.

Glossary: oral contraceptive pill

A drug containing hormones, taken to stop pregnancy.

Glossary: tablet

Also known as a pill, it is made by compressing a powdered form of one or more drugs. It is usually taken by mouth, but may be inserted into a different body cavity.