So you have decided that the birth control pill is your best contraceptive option. With the ease of ordering birth control online and so many options to choose from such as Yaz to enjoy a shorter period or Lo Loestrin Fe to get some extra iron, birth control pills remain among the most popular options.
Whether you are just starting your birth control pill routine or thinking of switching to a different brand, you may be wondering what types of medications could cause bad interactions. Below are some of the medications that can lower the effectiveness of birth control pills.
1. Some Antibiotics
Whether through rumor or misinformation, many people often believe that taking antibiotics cancels out the effects of your birth control pill. You may have heard stories of women who conceived while taking both birth control and antibiotics. The truth is that most antibiotics (like Minocycline and Clindamycin) do not interact badly with your birth control pill, but the underlying illness you are taking your antibiotic for might. When you suffer from diarrhea or vomiting, your body may not be effectively absorbing your birth control pill.
Only a couple antibiotics such as rifampin, a rare antibiotic most often found in medications to treat meningitis and tuberculosis, can interfere with the effectiveness of your birth control. If taking this type of antibiotic, your doctor will likely instruct you to use a backup method.
Some antidepressants alter hormone levels in the body. Hormone levels vary from woman to woman, so there is a small risk that antidepressants can cause the pill to fail. In addition, birth control pills with estrogen can decrease the effectiveness of the antidepressant. When taking both antidepressants and birth control pills you may also see more pronounced side effects of both medications, such as headaches, nausea, and weight gain.
Be sure to let your doctors know if you are taking both antidepressants and birth control, so they can assess your risk for adverse interactions.
3. Diabetes Medications
Some medications used to treat and manage diabetes could interact with certain birth control medications. The high doses of hormones that are delivered to the body from the pills, particularly estrogen, can dramatically affect blood sugar levels. This could require the patient to take much more insulin to manage their diabetes. Medications such as Pioglitazone and Rosiglitazone can also cause problems with your menstrual cycle, promoting ovulation even when taking contraceptive pills.
Always let your healthcare provider know you are on oral contraceptives and don’t be afraid to ask questions about interactions.
Anticonvulsant medications are used to control seizures by depressing the nervous system. They can interfere with the effectiveness of your birth control pill by causing your liver to break down your birth control faster. This means it could leave your body before it has done its job. Some medications that can have this effect include:
5. Anti-HIV Protease Inhibitors
Antiviral medications such as those commonly prescribed to combat HIV or AIDS can decrease the effectiveness of combination birth control pills. Some drugs that may cause this include:
There are options that do not interact with oral contraceptives such as Tenofovir.
6. St. John’s Wort
It’s not only prescription medications that can interact with your birth control pills. Natural remedies can decrease effectiveness as well. Saint John’s Wort is a popular herbal remedy that many people take to ease anxiety, lessen symptoms of depression, and reduce insomnia. Unfortunately, to help with these issues, it reduces both the levels of progestin and estrogen by as much as 15%.
While researchers are unsure exactly how much this affects your chances of getting pregnant, it can induce breakthrough bleeding, which means the level of the hormones in your body become lower than is ideal for the pill to work.
What Do You Do if You’ve Taken Meds That Interact With Birth Control?
If you have realized you have been taking medication that can interact with your birth control pills, don’t panic! Use a backup method such as condoms until you can discuss the situation with your healthcare professional and find out your options. There are many other forms of birth control that are not affected by the above medications. You can find other birth control pill options to work with your medications at Nurx, or find out more information on other methods such as IUDs, Depo shots, and implants.
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