Can I Take Amoxicillin with Birth Control?

Hormonal birth control by itself can cause nausea and headaches.
Taking amoxicillin with birth control may increase the risk of an unplanned pregnancy.
Taking amoxicillin can reduce the effectiveness of birth control.
In general, woman should not stop taking their birth control pills while on amoxicillin.
Article Details
  • Written By: M. Haskins
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Amoxicillin is a type of antibiotic available by prescription to treat various bacterial infections such as ear infections, gonorrhea, and pneumonia. Taking amoxicillin with birth control, specifically hormonal contraceptives such as birth control pills, can reduce the effectiveness of these contraceptives in a small percentage of cases, increasing the risk of an unplanned pregnancy. Some studies indicate that this only occurs in about 1% of cases, but many healthcare professionals commonly recommend using a barrier contraceptive method such as condoms or diaphragms while taking amoxicillin. Combining the medication and hormonal birth control does not commonly result in other serious side effects, and medical professionals do not usually recommend that a woman stop taking hormonal contraceptives while taking this antibiotic.

Several scientific studies have been done on the interaction between hormonal birth control and antibiotics, and it has been proven that antibiotics can have an effect on how the body metabolizes contraceptives. Hormonal contraceptives prevent pregnancy by regulating hormone levels. The hormones in these pills are metabolized by the liver and then enter the intestine, where they interact with the normal bacterial flora, and then they are eventually absorbed by the body. Antibiotics kill bacteria, both that which causes infection and that which normally lives in the intestine. This can interfere with the absorption of hormonal contraceptives, increasing the risk of unplanned pregnancy.

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Most studies indicate that taking amoxicillin with birth control does not affect the hormonal levels in the body significantly. Only one kind of antibiotic, rifampin, has been found to significantly reduce the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives. Based on this research, organizations such as the World Health Organization and Planned Parenthood have stated that there is no increased risk of an unplanned pregnancy when taking amoxicillin. It is possible, though not scientifically proven, that the effectiveness of low-dose contraceptive pills is more likely to be compromised when taking this medication. Using a barrier method of contraception will significantly decrease the risk of becoming pregnant when taking any kind of antibiotic.

There are no specific side effects of taking amoxicillin and birth control pills, but both of these medications can cause side effects on their own. Common side effects of amoxicillin include diarrhea and yeast infections. Side effects of hormonal birth control can include nausea and headaches. Allergic reactions, including breathing difficulties and hives, are possible when taking either of these medications, and a woman should seek medical attention if experiencing such symptoms.

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Discuss this Article

OeKc05
Post 4

I rely on physical types of birth control, because I hate taking pills that mess with my hormones. I never have to worry about birth control and medicine interfering with each other, because I use something I can see and feel to prevent pregnancy.

lighth0se33
Post 3

@cloudel – Well, I hope you aren't too opposed to getting pregnant, just in case! I always use other forms of birth control while taking amoxicillin, because I simply cannot afford to have a baby.

It may be true that the risk is low, but just knowing that the risk is slightly increased is enough to motivate me to take every precaution. I've heard that antibiotics stay in your system for up to two weeks after you stop taking them, so I keep using other forms of birth control for awhile!

cloudel
Post 2

I think that the chances of amoxicillin interfering with the effectiveness of birth control pills is really low. It seems that I'm always having to take the antibiotic for upper respiratory infections several times a year, and I've never gotten pregnant while using it.

Perdido
Post 1

I use the oral type of birth control, so I always use caution while on amoxicillin. I really don't want to have a baby, so abstaining is the only surefire way to avoid getting pregnant.

I have never noticed any other side effects, as far as hormones and my monthly cycle are concerned. Even though I don't plan to be active during my course of antibiotics, I continue taking the birth control pills, because I don't want to throw my cycle off schedule, and I also don't want the old painful cramps that I used to experience before I started taking the pill.

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