Remedies that cut the effect of contraceptives


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Remedies that cut or decrease the effect of the pill act by decreasing the hormonal concentration in the woman’s bloodstream hence increasing risk of unwanted pregnancy.

Below is a list of remedies that can cut or decrease the effectiveness of the birth control pill and the morning after pill, whether the contraceptive is taken in form of tablets, injection, or in the adhesive form.

Remedies that should not be used together with the pill

Medicines that should not be used in conjunction with pill include:

1. Antibiotics

Women who use rifampicin and rifabutin to treat and tuberculosis, leprosy, and bacterial meningitis. These drugs may reduce the effect on the contraceptive pill and therefore it is advisable to talk to the gynecologist about the medications. However, these are the only known antibiotics that reduce the action of the pill

2. Anticonvulsants

The remedies used to decrease or eliminate seizures can also compromise the effectiveness of contraceptives. They include tablets such as phenobarbital, carbamazepine, oxcarbamazepine, phenytoin, primidon, topiramate, or felbamato.

If it is necessary to use anticonvulsants, one should talk to the doctor responsible for treatment and who prescribed the anticonvulsants becuase there are remedies of this category that can be safely used together with contraceptives. These remedies include valproic acid, lamotrigine, thiagabina, levetiracetam or gabapentin.

3. Natural remedies

Herbal medicines 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 of the pill is saw palmetto. This is a medicinal plant which is widely used to treat urinary problems and impotence.

Another herbal remedy is St. John’s wort. It is not recommended to consume it when using contraception pills as it alters hormonal concentration in the bloodstream.

Thus, when using these drugs, even if they are natural, one should still use a condom during sexual intercourse but continue taking the pill naturally. The effectiveness of the pill should return to normal on the 7th day after one stops using the drug that compromises its effectiveness.

4. Antifungals

Remedies used to treat fungi, whether topical or systematic such as griseofulvin, ketoconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole, or clotrimazole, are not recommended for women who use contraception tablets. So, if you need to use any antifungals, you should communicate to the gynecologist before starting treatment.

5. Antiretrovirals

ARVs are used in the treatment of HIV and AIDS and the most common ones are lamivudine, tenofovir, efavirenz and zidovudine.

Thus, when a person is under the use of these drugs, they should not use the contraceptive pill and condoms should be the most preferable method of contraception.

6. Other remedies

Other remedies that should not be used when taking contraception pills are:

  • Theophylline
  • Lamotrigine
  • Melatonin
  • Cyclosporine
  • Midazolam
  • Tizanidine
  • Etoricoxib
  • Verapamil
  • Warfarin
  • Diltiazem
  • Clarithromycin
  • Erythromycin

For women who may want to use the contraceptive pills but use the contraindicated drugs, they should first consult the doctor responsible for treatment so that another remedy be prescribed or another contraceptive method option is considered.


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