Some medicines can reduce the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill – be sure to check with your doctor so you stay safe.

Respect Yourself supporter Lauren, 17 from Saffron Walden says “taking other medications alongside the contraceptive pill effects it and can cause the pill to stop working so further protection such as a condom needs to be used. I really want this to be passed on to girls as I know of at least 4 girls who got pregnant pre-16 as they were taking antibiotics or other medication with the pill. In addition to this, please let girls know that you are protected by the pill for only up to 3 days without taking it. So after 3 days of forgetting to take it, a condom should be used.”

Facts about the contraceptive pill

  • the pill works mainly by changing the body’s hormone balance so that you do not ovulate (so you do not release an egg each month from an ovary)
  • it causes the mucus made by the cervix to thicken and form a mucous plug in the cervix, making it difficult for sperm to get through to the womb to fertilise an egg
  • it contains both an oestrogen and a progestogen (hormones)
  • it is over 99% effective if used correctly. This means that less than 1 woman in 100 using the pill correctly will become pregnant. Correct use means not missing any pills, and taking extra contraceptive precautions when necessary (for example, when taking antibiotics)


Read more

  • Birth Control: Other Medications & Drug Interaction @ MSN Health & Fitness

    Excerpt: The antibiotic Rifampin would cause the enzymes in your liver to more quickly break down the estrogen supplied by your birth control pill, rendering your contraceptive less effective. This in turn would increase your chances for an unwanted pregnancy.

  • Will antibiotics stop my contraception working? @ NHS Choices

    Excerpt: If you’re using hormonal contraception, it’s important to understand that some medicines can reduce its effectiveness. This includes some types of antibiotic. If this happens, to avoid getting pregnant you’ll need to use additional contraception, such as condoms, change to a different method of contraception, or take your contraception in a different way. See below for more details.

    For help contact: 0845 4647 (NHS Direct)

Message supplied by: Lauren, Respect Yourself supporter