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Medications and birth control

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Hello all, since there are so many knowledgeable people here I thought someone might be able to give me some information.


I am on a medication (Tegretol) that reduces the efficacy of hormonal birth control. My doctor specificially mentioned birth control pills. From independent research I have decided that it is pretty much all hormonal based birth control. I am really here to see if that is true. Is anyone else on medications that interfere with birth control? And if so what do you use? My boyfriend and I currently use condoms, but I am wondering if there is anything else.

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Generally it is antiobiotics, well specific ones, that interfere the most with it....though they tend to make it a general rule because they don't know ALL the interactions. And yes, it won't affect not hormonal birth control, because that is external to your body's system and processes, so generally it is best to find methods that would not be influenced.


Aside from condoms, there are many other non hormonal methods you can use along with them - diaphragms & spermicide, cervical caps, vaginal film, copper IUD (if you are in a long term monogamous relationship I am personally a HUGE fan of the IUD from my own experience with it). Using these methods and also charting your cycle and ovulation signs to avoid sex during even MORE fertile periods can also really help too.


You have to kind of weigh your options and see what fits right for you as a couple.

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There are quite a few meds that decrease the effect of birth control pills.


Antibiotics are some.


Others include:


anticonvulsants, (such as Tegratol, & Dilantin)

anti tuburculosis meds (Rifampin)

anti fungals (Griesofulvin)

corticosteriods (Prednisone)

and protease inhibitor antiretrovirals (ritonavir)- drugs used to control the symptoms and slow the progress of HIV



Some meds increase the effect, and can cause toxicity:


benzodiazapines (Ativan, Xanax...) used for anxiety disorders

tricyclic antidepressants such as:

amitriptyline (Elavil)

clomipramine ( Anafranil)

beta blockers (Lopressor)- used to treat high blood pressure and heart problems

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The best advice is just to listen to your doctor. If they say it might interfere with your birth control, ask what the percentage is...then make a decision.


I was on antibiotics a month or two ago, and asked my doctor whether it'd affect my birth control. He said it reduced it negligibly...by a grand total of ONE %...so really, life's too short and I didn't change what I was doing.


Good luck

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My therapist informed me that with my medication the "pill" has a 40-60% efficacy.... not really the odds I wanted to play with. Plus the medication I am on has a large chance of fetal neural tube defects, so not really a good combination. I have made an appoinment to see the OBGYN at the same health center, so we will see what she has to say.

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  • 1 month later...

well, I finally had my appointment (long story don't ask).


Shockingly, today we found out that tegretol interferes with estrogen AND/OR progesterone containing products. So that meant that Depo shots and mini-pill were out.


So, I am getting an IUD. Depending on cost (I have the scripts for both) I am probably going to go with Mirena ( the progesterone based one). Both my doctor and I (and the medical book agreed) that the chance of interference with tegretol has not been studied but due to the mechanism of the way both "meds" work, there should not be major intereference. So now, I just have to find $300 and I am good to go!


Thanks for all the advice and comments.

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