Our expert says:
The effects of antibiotics on birth control pills may be overstated — except in the case of one antibiotic, rifampin. Studies clearly show that rifampin decreases the effectiveness of birth control pills in preventing ovulation.
Hypothetically speaking, other antibiotics, particularly penicillin and tetracycline derivatives, could impair the effectiveness of birth control pills. However, no large studies have proved such an effect.
Researchers can't rule out the possibility that a small percentage of women may experience decreased effectiveness of birth control pills while taking an antibiotic. And if you're taking a newer, extremely low-dose oral contraceptive, you could be more susceptible to these potential effects from antibiotics. If you're concerned, consider using a barrier method of contraception for the duration of your antibiotic prescription.
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