Can antibiotics hinder the effects of birth control?

Will antibiotics make birth control less effective? 

It is a common misconception that antibiotics reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. The only antibiotic known to make the oral contraceptive pill, the patch, and the vaginal ring less effective is Rifampin (commonly known under the brand names Rifadin and Rimactane). This antibiotic is used to treat tuberculosis. Aside from that certain HIV protease inhibitors, anti-seizure medications, St. John’s Wort herbal supplement, and the anti-fungal medication Griseofulvin (used for life-threatening fungal infections) can also diminish the pill’s effectiveness. However, there have not been any recorded cases of alternate antibiotics, such as those for ear infections, reducing the efficiency of hormonal contraception.

Though taking birth control pills is still an effective method of contraception while using antibiotics (aside from Rifampin), pills do not provide protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Here at SexInfo, we strongly support the use of barrier methods, such as a male or female condom, to provide STI protection.

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