Can Birth Control Lead To Drug Interactions?
Birth control pills typically do not cause severe drug interactions. However, because most forms of birth control contain hormones, there are some cases where these hormones may make certain medications or vitamins not work as well. What vitamins interfere with birth control? Here’s what to know about supplement options.
What to know about B vitamins
Some women may have confusion around B vitamins and birth control. A common myth is that B7, or biotin, can interact with birth control and cause problems. However, there is no scientific evidence for this claim. Taking birth control pills could lead to a deficiency in other B vitamins, including B6, B12, and B9. Women should speak with a healthcare provider about whether or not taking additional supplements with birth control is necessary.
Can I take iron?
Birth control can raise iron levels in women. Unless directed to by a healthcare provider, women should not take iron supplements while on the pill. Too much iron in the blood can result in an upset stomach, vomiting, and belly pain. If left unchecked, chronic iron overload can be toxic.
Many people take herbal remedies. However, always ask a healthcare provider such as a pharmacist about possible interactions and side effects. For example, St. John’s wort is often used as a natural way to treat mild depression or sleep problems. However, the herb can interfere with birth control by increasing estrogen breakdown. Flaxseed, saw palmetto, and garlic pills can also interfere with hormonal birth control.
Some over-the-counter pain killers may not work as effectively when also taking birth control pills. Specific antidepressants or tranquilizers may not work correctly when a woman is also taking birth control. Alternatively, some medications can cause birth control to work less effectively. For example, some people experience diarrhea as a side effect of antibiotics. This can affect the body’s ability to absorb birth control, which could lead to ineffectiveness.
What to ask a healthcare provider
If there are any concerns, ask a healthcare provider about what medications or supplements could be affecting birth control. Some patients can benefit from a medication review with a pharmacist. At this appointment, the pharmacist can review all over-the-counter medicines, prescriptions, vitamins, and supplements that a patient is taking. The pharmacist has specific knowledge about what drugs and supplements can cause interactions or side effects and can advise patients accordingly. For more information, speak with a pharmacist or healthcare provider.