Contraceptive effectiveness: grapefruit and other dangers that reduce the effectiveness of contraceptives

Do you drink grapefruit juice every morning? Have you taken St. John’s wort recently? Hormonal birth control pills can interact with many other things. Find out what you are doing that could make your birth control less effective even if you didn’t know it.

Moment. It is important to take the birth control pill at the same time every day. Try to take it within the same hour, if possible. This is particularly important for progestin-only pills. If you are consistently late on your pills, choose another time that is more convenient for you. Consider setting your watch to beep or other similar reminder to help you take your pills at the right time.

Storage. Do not store your medicine in a place that is too hot or too cold. You want a place that is out of direct sunlight, such as a drawer. Heat and cold can affect different medications in different ways and can often reduce their effectiveness.

Birth control pills, like all other types of pills, are one type of medicine. This means that you should always tell your doctor and pharmacist what type of birth control you are taking. This is to help you avoid complications or bad drug interactions. Here are some things that interact with birth control. (For more information on how hormonal contraceptives work, and the risks and side effects, as well as other contraceptive options, visit

Some antibiotics. Rifampin or rifapentine is an antibiotic that is generally used to treat tuberculosis. However, other antibiotics are generally fine when you are taking the pill. Demeclocyclene and doxycyclone are two other antibiotics that can interfere with your birth control method. Ask your doctor about other alternatives and make sure they prescribe something that won’t interfere with your birth control plan.

Grass of San Juan. This is a herbal remedy that you can buy at any pharmacy. It is not prescription or over the counter. Helps fight depression. However, it also decreases the effectiveness of birth control and as such should not be taken without consulting a healthcare professional.

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice. Grapefruit contains a compound that slows the absorption of estrogen hormones in the body. This means it does not affect progestin-only pills.

Antifungal medications. Certain medications taken by mouth to treat yeast infections can disrupt oral contraceptives. This includes griseofulvin.

Antihistamines. There is currently a debate in the medical community about whether antihistamines or allergy medications may be related to contraceptive failure.

Anticonvulsants Many medications taken to prevent seizures can make birth control pills less effective. Talk to your doctor before dealing with these.

Some other drugs that can interact with your birth control include corticosteroids, bronchidilators, and certain anxiety medications. These are not fully confirmed, so consult your healthcare professional about interactions.

These interactions also apply to other hormonal birth control methods, including the patch, vaginal ring, and Depo-Provera.

Just as your other medications can affect your birth control method, remember that your birth control method can affect your other medications as well. Avoiding negative drug interactions is important to you on both counts, so always ask your doctor or pharmacist about drug interactions when filling a new prescription.