Posted: April 12, 2016 Contributor: administrator

Taking These Medications Can Interrupt Birth Control Coverage

The reason that the majority of us take birth control is to avoid unplanned pregnancy, right? If you aren’t looking to become pregnant, you need to be aware of the medications out there that can make the pill less effective. While a pharmacist should let you know of possible interactions, it’s also up to you to be well informed just in case this information isn’t given.

Any time you take a new medication, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is a possible side effect that could interfere with birth control effectiveness. Here are some of the most common medications that will cause birth control side effects of lowered efficacy courtesy of

Antibiotics (Kind of…)

Now, this isn’t to say that ALL will impact your birth control, in fact most DON’T. That likely comes as a surprise, doesn’t it? Most of us have heard antibiotics interfere but apparently we may have it all wrong! There is plenty of evidence that shows the majority of antibiotics don’t have any impact at all. Often, we hear about this interaction when people are so sick (and consequently being treated with antibiotics) that they are unable to absorb their pill effectively. One antibiotic that is rarely prescribed is rifampin or rifabutin. This is commonly used for the treatment of a severe lung infection like tuberculous. If you are taking this, you will want to use a backup method of birth control, like condoms.

Mood Stabilizing Medication and Epilepsy Drugs

Anyone taking either of these medications has not only birth control effectiveness to worry about. It seems birth control can make these medications less effective as well. For instance, the medications used to treat epilepsy as well as bipolar disorder fall into the categories of Barbituates, Carbamazepine, Oxcarbazepine, Phenytoin, Primidone, Topiramate, Felbamate, and Lamotrigine. These are known to cause birth control effectiveness to drop.
In addition, those who are taking epilepsy medication to prevent seizures may actually be more likely to have them if they are on the pill. Those on bipolar medication may also have a depressive or manic episode if they are on the pill.

HIV Medications

Certain HIV medications can increase the chance of becoming pregnant on the pill. Examples include Nevirapine and Nelfinavir- and Ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitors (Darunavir, Fosamprenavir, Lopinavir, Tipranavir. If you are taking any HIV medication, check with your doctor. Not all antiretroviral medications will have an impact.

St. John’s Wort

This herbal remedy is often used to treat depression, anxiety or insomnia. What many don’t know is that by taking it, the levels of estrogen and progestin in the pill are reduced by nearly 15%! If you are aware of this and still want to remain on St. John’s Wort, you might want to switch to a non-hormonal method of birth control to avoid accidental pregnancy.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *