Antibiotics and Birth Control: Drug Interactions

Picture this: your winter cold develops into a nasty sinus infection. You go to the doctor and she prescribes you an antibiotic to treat the infection. She asks if you’re on any other medications.  You wonder-is she just being nosy?

Drug Interaction

Don’t worry, your doctor isn’t digging into your personal life. Knowing what medications you’re on can prevent drug interactions from causing damage to your body. Interactions aren’t limited to medications- sometimes alcohol, illegal drug, and tobacco use can also have a serious impact on your body. Our advice? Be transparent with your doctor about drugs you're taking. The more they know, the more they can help you.

Antibiotics & Hormonal Contraception

One of the biggest questions we get here at BINTO is: will taking antibiotics mess up the effectiveness of my birth control?

In short: it can affect your birth control, depending on which antibiotic you’re taking.

A Guide to Antibiotics

Most antibiotics have not shown evidence of impacting the effectiveness of hormonal contraception, however, rifampicin and rifabutin may be the exceptions to this rule. These antibiotics are used to treat or prevent meningitis, tuberculosis, and other diseases (1).

These two drugs, along with those considered to be like them, may cause your hormonal contraception to stop working (1).

 

Rifampicin-Like Antibiotics:

These are enzyme-inducing which affects hormonal contraception and increases the chance of unplanned pregnancy

 

Other Antibiotics

They are not enzyme-inducing and don't affect hormonal contraception.

Birth Control Methods

Here's a guide to which birth control methods to use and not to use when taking a rifampicin-like antibiotic (1).

 

Note: We didn’t find any significant data or research studies that support the claim antibiotics can affect your menstrual cycle if you are not on hormonal birth control.

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/antibiotics-contraception/

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