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Medications that cut the effect of the birth control pill

Some medication can cut or reduce the effect of the pill by lowering the hormone concentration in your bloodstream, increasing the risk of unwanted pregnancy.

See our list of medications that can cut or decrease the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill and the morning-after pill, even when the contraceptive pill, injection, or patch is taken correctly.

Medications that cut the effect of the birth control pill

Medications that shouldn't be taken with the birth control pill

1. Antibiotics

Rifampin and Rifabutin are the antibiotics commonly indicated in the treatment of tuberculosis, leprosy and bacterial meningitis, which should not be used together with the contraceptive pill as they cut off its effect. Rifampin and Rifabutin are enzyme inducing drugs that increase the metabolism rate of certain contraceptives, therefore reducing the amount of hormones in your bloodstream.

However, other antibiotics may reduce the contraceptive's effect because they can destroy the intestinal flora and cause diarrhea by reducing the absorption of hormones. If this happens it may be safer to use condoms during treatment with these medications:

Levofloxacin (Levaquin)Cephalexin (Keflex)
FosfomycinSulfamethoxazole Trimethoprim

2. Other medicines

Medicines used to decrease or abolish seizures may also compromise the effectiveness of the birth control pill, such as:

  • Phenobarbital;
  • Primidone;
  • Topiramate;
  • Carbamazepine;
  • Phenytoin;
  • Hydantoin.

In addition to these drugs, HIV drugs such as Ritonavir and Nelfinavir also interact with contraceptives, reducing their effectiveness, especially in prolonged treatments, and it is necessary to use a condom or IUD to avoid pregnancy. See other: contraceptive methods besides the birth control pill.

3. Natural remedies

Herbal remedies, popularly known as natural remedies also interfere with the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill. An example of a natural remedy that interferes with contraceptive activity is Saw palmetto, which is a medicinal plant widely used to treat urinary problems and impotence. However, because it has an opposite effect on testosterone it may interact with estrogens present in oral contraceptives.

The St John's wort and Black Cohosh are also not indicated for consumption during the use of the contraceptive pill, since they alter hormonal concentration in the bloodstream.

So, if you use any of these medicines, even if they are natural, you should use a condom in all intimate contact, but continue taking the pill normally. The efficacy of the pill should come back on the 7th day after you stop using the drug that compromised its effectiveness.

Medications that can be used with the birth control pill

Some medicines can be used together with the contraceptive pill because they do not alter it's absorption and do not interact with contraceptives. They are:

  • Dipyrone;
  • Paracetamol;
  • Ibuprofen;
  • Ketoprofen;
  • Acyclovir;
  • Valacyclovir;
  • Ketoconazole;
  • Fluconazole;
  • Miconazole;
  • Nystatin.

Therefore, if you take any of these medicines you don't need to worry or use another contraceptive method while the treatment lasts.

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