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Will Antibiotics Cancel Out Birth Control

Enzyme Inducers = Use A Backup Method

Whats the Deal with Antibiotics and Birth Control?

This being said t is still important to ask your pharmacist about whether or not your antibiotic is considered broad-spectrum, because there are some antibiotics that do significantly interact with combined hormonal contraceptives.

Antibiotics that are known to definitely affect the efficacy of combined hormonal contraceptives are called enzyme inducers because they essentially make your body chew up the hormones in the birth control faster than normal. These types of antibiotics include the following:

Rifampin, Rifabutin and griseofulvin are antibiotics known to reduce the levels of hormones in the pill, the patch or the ring. It is very important that women on these antibiotics who also use combined hormonal contraception use a backup method of birth control while they are taking these antibiotics. The CDC has classified these antibiotics as category 3 interactions with combined hormonal contraceptives because when used together, the effectiveness of the birth control is reduced and pregnancy risk is increased.

Birth Control And Antibiotic Eye Drops

  • #1 02-07-2008 11:18 PM by tbn1086Does using antibiotic eye drops while on the pill decrease its effectiveness? Im using ciprofloxacin 0.3% drops for an eye infection. I thought eye drops only have a local effect but I can taste it in the back of my throat so Im not really sure. Anyone know if antibiotic eye drops would decrease the effectiveness of the pill???
  • #2 02-08-2008 05:46 AM by IrishPrinces426Re: birth control and antibiotic eye dropsI was taking antibiotic eye drops for about two weeks and never heard anything about them effecting birth control. Usually my doctor will say something and there is a warning in the information I get on the drug from the pharmacy. The doctor didnt say anything to me and there was nothing about it effecting birth control on the drug information.If you are concerned get in touch with your doctor or pharmacist.IrishPrinces
  • 02-08-2008 03:20 PM by MusicElleRe: birth control and antibiotic eye dropsI think the reason antibiotics effect birth control has to do with how the birth control is absorbed in the digestive system, so I think you fine since your not taking the antibiotics orally.

How Antibiotics Might Affect Birth Control

Some types of antibiotics have the potential to affect birth control because they can alter the bodys hormone levels. Hormonal birth control methods that these antibiotics might impact include:

All four of these birth control methods contain the hormones estrogen and/or progestin which thickens the mucus in the cervix, making it difficult for sperm to fertilize an egg, and thin the lining of the uterus to reduce the chance of getting pregnant. The methods that contain estrogen also prevent you from ovulating, while progestin-only methods stop ovulation but not consistently. Certain antibiotics can lower the levels of estrogen and progestin in your body, potentially to the point of affecting your birth control.

Theoretically, antibiotics might also reduce your birth controls efficacy by interrupting the recirculation of estrogens in the body a process called enterohepatic circulation. They do this by killing the bacteria in the small intestine that help break the hormone down and redistribute it within the body.

For these reasons, many manufacturers have historically placed warnings on antibiotic labels to inform women about this risk. Over the years, scientists have done many studies on various types of antibiotics effects on hormonal birth control to determine which ones you should and should not take at the same time.

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How Do Antibiotics Work

Different antibiotics have different mechanisms of working. Some affect how bacteria operate, while others may break down bacterial cell walls. Its important to remember that antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections. That means it is ineffective against viral and fungal infections.

You should never take antibiotics to treat the common cold and flu, stomach flu, and other infections caused by a virus. Overusing or incorrectly using antibiotics may create superbugs that are resistant to conventional bacteria.

Aside from viral and fungal infections, antibiotics can be used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections and diseases, including:

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Using A Backup Method

Does metronidazole cancel out birth control, metronidazole 400

Although there have been some cases reported of contraceptive failing when a woman takes antibiotics, it doesnt happen regularly. To ease your mind while taking antibiotics, your doctor will generally recommend that a backup method of birth control is used during this time. Typically, a condom, spermicide, or a female condom are all good options to use as a backup method.

If you are takingboth antibiotics and birth control at the same time and wondering doantibiotics affect birth control, you should speak with your doctor and findout how long you should use a backup method for.

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What If I Take A Medication That Messes With Hormonal Birth Control

There are many highly effective types of birth control that are not affected by these medications, including all IUDs, the implant, and the shot. Barrier methods like condoms are also effective regardless of what medication youre taking.

In general, its good to remember that medicines can have powerful interactions with each otherand hormonal birth control is just another type of medicine. If a new medicine is prescribed for you, make sure to tell your health care provider about all of the medicines, herbal and vitamin supplements you regularly take.

Some Medications Must Be Taken With Birth Control

While most medications can be taken safely with birth control, there are some medications that must be taken with some form of reliable birth control since its unsafe to get pregnant while taking them. Drugs that fall into that category are teratogenic, which means they can cause malformations in an embryo. Here are some of the most common teratogenic drugs that should be taken with a reliable form of birth control :

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Medications That Interfere With Birth Control

Birth control failure is much more serious than a Tylenol that hasnt quite cured your headache. If your birth control doesnt work, then you risk an unwanted pregnancy. So, its important to be aware of any medications that may interfere with your contraceptions effectiveness.

Before you take any new medication consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist to see if the medication could interfere with your birth control pills.

How Long Do Certain Antibiotics Affect Birth Control

Birth control: Do antibiotics affect my birth control? | Nurx (2020)

Exactly how long an antibiotic can affect birth control depends on the amount of time youre taking it, says Dr. Ross. And since your doctor may recommend you take rifampin for several months , using a second method of protection, such as a condom, is super important. If I were on rifampin and I were taking any type of birth control, I would be using back-up contraception, and I would be very careful, says Dr. Sophocles.

To prevent unwanted pregnancy, Dr. Sophocles recommends using backup contraception the entire time youre on rifampin or rifabutin and the first few days youre off the antibiotic, while Dr. Ross suggests sticking to it for up to a month afterward. After all, missing a single pill can put you at risk of pregnancy, and it can take at least seven days after you first start taking birth control pills for them to effectively protect against pregnancy.

And while you dont normally need to use additional contraceptives if youre taking antibiotics other than those two, theres no harm in playing it safe, especially since condoms prevent STIs, too.

If you have an easy opportunity to use back-up contraception, use it, says Dr. Sophocles. Its never going to hurt to use it, and its a lot better than having an oops.

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What Does The Research Say

According to the clinical advice, experts and womens health providers, only one antibiotic – rifampin , and to a lesser extent rifabutin – have been proven to make the birth control pill less effective.

  • Rifampin lowers the effectiveness by decreasing the birth control hormone levels in women taking oral contraceptives. The hormone levels are needed to prevent ovulation.
  • Rifampin can induce enzymes in your liver that will break down estrogen faster than normal. Lowering hormone levels can reduce the effectiveness of your birth control.
  • Rifampin can also lower the effectiveness of the transdermal birth control patch and the vaginal ring , so an added barrier method of birth control should be used with these products.
  • A nonhormonal method of birth control – for example, a condom, diaphragm, or copper IUD, is recommended with rifampin use. Depo-Provera, the birth control shot, may be another option.

A 2018 review published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology concurred with this information. Researchers completed a literature review of multiple studies that met inclusion criteria. The authors concluded that most women can expect no reduction in effectiveness with the use of hormonal contraceptives and antibiotics .

A review from the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology states that pharmacokinetic evidence demonstrates that levels of oral contraceptive steroids are unchanged with combined administration of antibiotics, including:

What The Research Says

Research indicates that most antibiotics do not have an effect on oral contraceptives.

And while earlier data reported that, in extremely rare circumstances, amoxicillin, ampicillin, metronidazole, and tetracycline have caused contraceptive failure, most researchers consider these studies to be too small to be conclusive.

The bottom line: Its safe to use most antibiotics with most birth control.

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Do Antibiotics Affect The Contraceptive Pill

For decades, if a woman was started on an antibiotic, it was standard practice for the doctor to ask if she was also taking the contraceptive pill. It was thought that antibiotics interfered with the levels of the pill in a womans body, and might stop it from working. Therefore, women on the pill were advised to use condoms or avoid intercourse if they were taking an antibiotic.

Why Is My Birth Control Not Helping With My Acne Scars


This anti-acne effect is limited to methods that use a combination of estrogen and progesterone, for example: B. some pills, patch and ring. The FDA has specifically approved three types of birth control for acne, although people using other estrogen/progesterone combinations may see similar results.

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What To Do If You Need To Take Antibiotics While On Birth Control

If your health care provider prescribes you an antibiotic and youre concerned about it affecting your birth control, simply use a backup form of birth control during and a week after treatment. These include:

  • A cervical cap .

You might also talk to your medical team about switching to nonhormonal birth control, such as a copper intrauterine device . This small device can be placed in your uterus to prevent sperm from reaching and fertilizing an egg. The copper essentially acts as a spermicide.

If your health care provider prescribes you a rifamycin, always use a backup method of birth control, such as a condom or diaphragm, when having vaginal sex. Use one of these backup methods for the entire length of your treatment, plus a week after finishing the antibiotic.

If you are taking an antibiotic to treat a sexually transmitted infection such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, then you might need to avoid having sex during and immediately after treatment. Your Nurx medical provider can provide with the exact recommendations for each.

Can Antibiotics Cause Irregular Periods

Antibiotics dont typically have any effect on your menstrual cycle. If you notice irregular periods around the time youre taking antibiotics, its likely to be caused by illness or stress. They may not affect your period, but some antibiotics can make you more at risk for a yeast infection.

For more information, take a look at the pill package insert. It might say that women have had contraceptive failure and breakthrough bleeding after taking antibiotics like ampicillin.

Drugs like Rifampin interfere with birth control pills at the hormonal level. To understand why you need to know how birth control pills affect your hormones.

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Taking Other Antibiotics With Oral Contraceptives

What about other types of antibiotics? If you get a UTI, your healthcare provider will probably prescribe one of the many other antibiotics, such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole or nitrofurantoin . Can you take those with hormonal birth control?

You can! The only antibiotics that might interfere with birth control are rifampin and rifabutin. All other antibiotics, including common antibiotics like amoxicillin and ciprofloxacin, should be safe, even if youre taking contraceptive pills .

Your healthcare provider might still recommend using a back-up form of birth control while youre on the antibiotics, just to be extra safe. Be sure to follow the medical advice of your healthcare provider.

Other Drugs That Can Cause Birth Control Pill Failure

Birth Control and Antibiotics: Does Antibiotics Make Birth Control Pills Less Effective?

Researchers at report other drugs that can contribute to birth control pill failure include HIV medications and some anticonvulsants. The over-the-counter herbal supplement St. Johns Wort may also affect the pills effectiveness.

The bottom line?

Most antibiotics are not proven to reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills, but that doesnt mean it never happens. Talking to a doctor or a pharmacist can help put your mind at ease. You should also use a backup birth control method while youre taking antibiotics, just to be safe.

Interested in switching birth control? Feeling under the weather and think you may need an antibiotic? Or maybe you have questions about your particular birth control and the antibiotic youre taking?

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Antibiotics That Can Affect Birth Control

Researchers have only proven that two types of antibiotics can affect the efficacy of your birth control:

  • Rifampin: Health care providers prescribe this medication to treat tuberculosis. Rifampin causes the enzymes in your liver to break estrogens down faster than normal, lowering those hormone levels in your body and possibly reducing your birth controls efficacy. Some women might experience spotting between their periods while taking rifampin, but this doesnt mean their birth control isnt working.
  • Rifabutin: Health care providers prescribe this medication to prevent an infection called mycobacterium avium complex in HIV patients, as well as to treat tuberculosis. It, too, reduces the levels of birth control hormones that suppress ovulation but to a lesser degree than rifampin.

Both of these medications belong to a class of antibiotics called rifamycins. Scientists have not been able to prove that any other rifamycins, however, affect birth control.

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Medication

If you have pulmonary arterial hypertension and are taking bosentan, you should absolutely consult with a doctor before using birth control. Bosentan decreases the concentration of hormones in the bloodstream, decreasing the efficacy of your birth control and increasing your risk of pregnancy. Bosentan can also cause severe birth defects if taken during pregnancyanother reason to talk to your doctor and make sure your birth control works for you if you have PAH. In our online consultation, we always ask patients about their blood pressure to ensure that doctors can prescribe a medication that is safe and effective.

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Side Effects Of Birth Control Pills And Antibiotics

There isnt much scientific research on the adverse side effects of taking antibiotics with birth control pills. In theory, similar side effects of both drugs may worsen when both types of drugs are taken together. These side effects may include:

Side effects vary depending on the person and the class of antibiotic taken. Not everyone who takes birth control pills and antibiotics experiences negative side effects.

Despite anecdotal evidence that antibiotics lessen the effectiveness of birth control pills, there may be other factors at play that lead to birth control failure. For example, you may not take your birth control pills on time or you may skip a pill or two if youre ill. You may not absorb the pill properly if youre vomiting. While it may seem that antibiotics are to blame, it may be a coincidence.

Which Antibiotics Affect Hormonal Birth Control

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The only antibiotic that affects hormonal birth control is called rifampicin. Its a medication used for certain bacterial infections, including tuberculosis and some forms of meningitis.

The main reason why rifampicin is not compatible with hormonal contraceptives is that it affects the way the body metabolizes them. It speeds up the processing of contraceptives in the body and reduces the levels of the main components of birth control in the blood.

A systematic review published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology in 2017 shows rifampicin increases the frequency of spontaneous ovulation in women taking hormonal contraceptives.

Rifampicin is the accepted international generic name for the drug across most of the world, but it is also known as rifampin in the U.S. Some manufacturers use specific brand names that can vary from country to country. The generic name should still be clear from the packaging. Rifampicin can sometimes come as part of a combined medication, a tablet that contains a mix of two or more drugs.

Contraceptives that are affected by rifampicin:

ontraceptives that are not affected by rifampicin:

Currently, hormonal contraceptives only work on female sex hormones, so there isnt a male hormonal contraceptive that can be affected by antibiotics. And antibiotics dont affect non-hormonal contraceptives like condoms or the copper IUD.

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