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Antibiotics and Birth Control Pills

I'm currently taking birth control pills and have been prescribed antibiotics to treat a sinus infection. I've heard that antibiotics can decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. Is this true?

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Answer

Good question. This is one of the most debated topics with regard to birth control pills. Everybody "knows" that antibiotics interact with birth control pills, increasing the risk of pregnancy. However, there isn't much scientific basis for this claim.
 
In fact, the few antibiotics that have been clearly shown to interact with birth control pills are rarely used and are not among the types of antibiotics commonly used in women of reproductive age, except to treat tuberculosis or serious fungal infections. Nonetheless, if avoiding pregnancy is very important to you, a nonhormonal backup method (such as condoms) is not a bad idea if you have to take an antibiotic.
 
(See Antibiotics and Birth Control Pills for more information.)
 
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