There’s no evidence to suggest biotin makes any form of birth control any less effective or causes any side effects. That means you should be able to safely take biotin supplements or eat foods rich in biotin without worrying about them impacting your birth control. In fact, these supplements may help restore levels of vitamins depleted by long-term birth control use. As with all supplements, the decision about whether to take biotin is one you should discuss with your medical provider.
What Is Biotin?
Biotin is a water-soluble B-group vitamin, also known as vitamin B7. This vitamin helps your body turn carbohydrates, fatty acids, glucose, and amino acids into energy. It’s also believed to strengthen hair and nails, stimulate hair growth, improve skin condition, and lower blood sugar, although scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited. Biotin is found in several foods, including:
- Cooked eggs.
- Nuts and nut butters.
- Whole grains.
Biotin can also be taken in supplement form.
Why Should I Be Concerned?
It’s important to know how the supplements and medications you take interact with one another. Many supplements and medications make other medications less effective or increase the likelihood or severity of side effects. That’s why you should always be open with the Nurx™ medical team when you’re discussing your health status.
Although biotin supplements do not impact the effectiveness of birth control, they can interfere with thyroid hormone testing, causing either falsely high or falsely low results. Many physicians recommend holding biotin-containing supplements for at least two days prior to testing thyroid levels.
Should I Take Biotin With Birth Control?
As with all supplements, the decision about whether to take biotin is one you should discuss with the Nurx medical team. However, there are no drug interactions that should deter you from taking birth control and biotin.
Biotin deficiency is rare. Most people get the recommended 30 micrograms of biotin through their diet. Scientific evidence surrounding the benefits of biotin is also limited, so it’s unclear whether supplements will really make your nails stronger or your skin brighter.
However, long-term use of birth control pills has been linked to deficiencies in some B-vitamins. While research is limited at this stage, vitamin B7 may be one of the vitamins women who take birth control over an extended period may lack. Therefore, taking a biotin supplement or eating a biotin-rich diet could be important for helping the bodies of women who take the pill long-term continue working as they should.
Some medical experts also suggest biotin to offset the hair thinning that can be a side effect of various birth control options, including the depo-shot and NuvaRing. Biotin-infused shampoos are used by some women who are concerned about these issues.
Other Medications and Supplements That Can Affect Birth Control
While biotin has not been shown to impact birth control, some other medications and supplements can. Evidence suggests that while their effectiveness is not reduced on birth control, they could make your birth control less effective. You may want to speak to one of the Nurx medical team if you are using birth control and one of the following:
- Rifampin (Rifadin) and rifabutin (Mycobutin): Medications used to treat various infections, including tuberculosis, as well as hepatic encephalopathy.They may decrease birth control hormone levels, making birth control pills, the patch, NuvaRing, and the implant less effective.
- Griseofulvin (Gris-PEG) and ketoconazole (Extina, Nizoral, Xolegel):Antifungal medication that can decrease birth control hormones, and thus reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills, the patch, and NuvaRing. The risk is believed to be low, but still worth considering if you don’t want to get pregnant.
- Carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin), primidone (Mysoline), oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), topiramate (Topamax) and phenobarbital: These medications used to treat seizures can all make hormonal birth control less effective.
- Lamotrigine (Lamictal) is used for seizures and mood stabilization; hormonal birth control can make it less effective.
- Darunavir (Prezista), efavirenz (Sustiva), lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra), and nevirapine (Viramune): These HIV medications can also make hormonal birth control less effective.
- Modafinil (Provigil) and Armodafinil (Nuvigil): This stimulant prescribed for sleep disorders, including sleep apnea and narcolepsy, can make hormonal birth control less effective. Medical experts recommend using a back-up method for at least a week after you stop taking this medication.
- St. John’s wort: This herbal supplement used to treat the symptoms of depression and mild sleep disorders can stimulate the production of liver enzymes which speeds up the way your body metabolizes birth control and makes it less effective.
If you take any of these medications or supplements, make sure to consult your physician on the best birth control method for you. Depending on the medication or supplement you may want to consider using a non-hormonal birth control method such as a copper IUD, condoms, or a diaphragm. Alternatively, you may like to find another alternative to treat your condition.
It’s been shown that many common antibiotics do not alter levels of oral contraceptive steroids. So long as you’re taking your birth control as prescribed, you won’t need a back-up contraceptive while you’re taking the following meds:
However, some medication providers still recommend using a barrier method, such as condoms, while using their antibiotics and a week after you finish the course of treatment. This extra layer of protection should help you prevent pregnancy while these companies are unsure whether their antibiotics will reduce the efficiency of your hormonal birth control. Ultimately, the decision about using an extra layer of protection and the interaction of antibiotics with your birth control is one you should discuss with your medical provider.