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Q & A with Dr. Cullins: Birth Control

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    Does taking antibiotics make the pill less effective?

    Only one antibiotic is known to make the pill less effective. That is rifampin, a special medication used to treat tuberculosis. The brand names include Rifadin and Rimactane. Other antibiotics do not make the pill less effective.

    Certain other medicines may make the pill less effective. These include

    • certain anti-HIV protease inhibitors
    • certain anti-seizure medications
    • a particular anti-fungal medication, griseofulvin (Fulvicin, Gris-PEG, Grifulvin V, Grisactin, and Gristatin), which is used to treat severe, often life-threatening fungal infections

    It is always wise to know how other medications may interact with the pill. Some medications may be less effective when used with the pill. These include

    • analgesics for example, acetaminophen (Pamprin, Tylenol, Parcetamol, aspirin-free Excedrin, and others)
    • antihypertensives for example, cyclopenthiazide (Prothiazide)

    The effects of some medications may be exaggerated when used with the pill. These include

    • antidepressants for example, imipramine (Janimine and Tofranil)
    • bronchodilators for example, theophyline (Primatene, Theo-Dur, Marax, Bronkotabs, Quibron Tedra, and others)
    • tranquilizers for example, benzodiazepam (Valium, Ativan, Librium, Serax, Tranxene, Xanax, and others)

Published: 07.15.04 | Updated: 01.11.07

This column is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have a medical problem, please call toll-free 1-800-230-PLAN for an appointment with the Planned Parenthood health center nearest you.

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