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Is it true that antibiotics make the Pill less effective?

By , Originally Published: August 29, 2012 Revised: December 10, 2013

It is absolutely true. Some antibiotics lower the effectiveness of the birth control pill, so there’s a heightened risk of pregnancy while taking antibiotics. That’s why it’s a good idea to tell any doctor or health care provider that you see that you’re on hormonal birth control.

If a girl is on the Pill and on an antibiotic, she should back up her birth control with a barrier method, such as a condom. Antibiotics make some pills less effective for the time that the antibiotics are being taken until about a week afterwards.

If you are taking antibiotics and did not use a barrier method of contraception and are worried about pregnancy, find out about emergency contraception (EC). But just know Plan B One-Step emergency contraception is not effective at preventing pregnancy in people over 176 pounds. If you weigh over 176 pounds and need emergency contraception, you should speak to a health care provider about possibly using another emergency contraceptive pill or a copper IUD.

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