Antibiotics May Affect the Efficacy of Birth Control Pills

birth control pills

The new study sheds evidence on how excessive antibiotic usage may alter the efficiency of birth control pills in women. It may not be a problem among women who aren’t using any oral contraceptive or over this whole phase. But for others, especially those infertile years should be more concerned about using antibiotics as it may lead them to an unplanned pregnancy.

Those women who are using both these medicines at one time should be more concerned because of the potential interaction and inefficacy of desired results. This study has only confirmed this link and it doesn’t provide any more information on how and why does this happen.

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 Dr. Robin Ferner from the Institute of Clinical Sciences, University of Birmingham is the principal investigator and leading author of this study. According to Dr. Ferner, there is a potential interaction between these two medicines which may result in contraceptive failure.

Interestingly, these study findings aren’t surprising for doctors. Dr. Mitchell Kramer, from the Northwell Health’s Huntington Hospital (NY) says that doctors knew about this potential antibiotic interaction with hormonal contraceptives for long.

That’s why most of them advise people who are using contraceptives and antibiotics to use added protection to avoid a pregnancy. It could be anything such as condoms, spermicidal spray, lube, etc.

Ferner along with his team investigated the un-planned pregnancies in more than 75,000 contraceptive users. Nearly 33,000 of them were using enzyme-inducing medicines while 65,500 of them were on other types of medicines.

A  total number of 46 cases were identified and 39 of them were among the users of the enzyme-inducing medicine. 6 were among women on other types of contraceptives.

This comparison leads to a result that unwanted pregnancies were seven times higher in antibiotic users. It was up to 13 times higher in enzyme-inducing medicine users including common antibiotics.

Some of these cases also reported congenital birth defects. The complete study findings are published in the journal BMJ Evidence Based Medicine.

The researchers say that absolute risk calculation was probably not possible because these risks are different in every woman. The physiological factors, as well as circumstances, change from woman to woman which is why it is hard to reach one solution for all things.

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However, they agreed on one thing that every woman who has been using hormonal contraceptives and some type of antibiotic should probably do more than just relying on the birth control pill. This interaction is built within a short time and a careless approach may eventually lead to an unwanted pregnancy.

In addition to this, doctors and the patients have to re-design their communication especially regarding contraceptive pills and the antibiotics and how to plan a family. Pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies should also warn buyers about the potential undesirable effects so that maximum people can know about this interaction.



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