Medications that interfere with oral contraceptive pills

When doctors ask “what other medicines do you take,” or “do you currently have maintenance medications,” they’re discerning whether any medication might affect your contraceptive pills or vice versa.

There are some medicines that will not work well if taken with another medication. The same thing applies to hormonal contraceptives, especially pills. That’s why it’s important to tell your doctor about any condition you have or medication you’re taking.

If you want your pills to work well, you’ll have to avoid medications that interfere with them.


Most antibiotics don’t affect hormonal contraceptives. A study found that the only antibiotic, so far, that interferes with the effectiveness of contraception is rifampin. It is used for treating tuberculosis.

Anti-HIV medications

According to a research, the following retrovirals for treating HIV can affect hormonal contraceptives:

  • Darunavir
  • Efavirenz
  • Lopinavir/Ritonavir
  • Nevirapine

Other HIV drugs not on the list may be okay, but it’s best to consult your doctor.

Antifungal medications

Antifungal creams, ointments, and powders applied on the skin don’t interfere with contraception.

But certain oral and intravenous antifungal medications may make contraception less effective. These antifungals are griseofulvin, ketoconazole, fluconazole and itraconazole.

Scientists say that the risk of antifungal and contraception interference is low. However, it’s still recommended to ask your doctor.


The following medications for treating seizures can affect the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives:

  • Carbamazepine
  • Felbamate
  • Oxcarbazepine
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin
  • Primidone
  • Topiramate


Modafinil is a stimulant commonly used for treating narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and other symptoms of sleep disorders. It lessens the effectiveness of oral contraceptive pills, and may require a backup method, even up to a month after you come off modafinil.

Herbal remedies

St. John’s wort is a supplement said to help with symptoms of depression, insomnia, and anxiety. A study shows that supplements like these could affect contraception.

Flaxseed may also interfere with hormonal contraceptives. It is often used for treating digestive problems like severe constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).





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