Woman's Health Centers

When Someone You Love Needs a Choice


Medications and Oral Contraceptives

Some medications cause the enzymes in your liver to more quickly break down the estrogen supplied by your birth control pills. This makes the oral contraceptive less effective.

Some examples of medications that may affect birth control are:

  • Rifampin - used to treat tuberculosis
  • Ampilcillian and Doxycycline - broad spectrum antibiotics
  • Phenobarbital and Carbamazepine - anti-seizure medications
  • Topiramate - used to treat migraines
  • Grisefulvin - anti-fungal
  • Herbal Preparations

Many health care providers recommend using a second method of birth control the entire time a woman is taking any antibiotics or any of the family of medications listed above, and for a full 7 days after the antibiotics is stopped.

Remember, for oral contraceptives to be effective:

  • Take them at the same time each day.
  • Avoid smoking to prevent complications
  • Use a back up method for 7 days, anytime you miss a pill or are taking other meds.
  • Store oral contraceptives away from excessive heat and moisture.