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Dangers of mixing contraceptives with other medications

Have you ever heard of someone who got pregnant despite taking birth control? Maybe you even have a close friend or acquaintance who went through this situation, right? Well, know that this type of case is more common than you might think – and it can be caused by mixing the contraceptive pill with other medications, intended for various medical treatments.

In addition, there is the obvious health risk when using multiple medications at the same time. According to a survey by the National System of Toxic Pharmacological Information (Sinitox), from the Fio Cruz Institute, the indiscriminate use of medicines is responsible for most intoxications, even ahead of the ingestion of poisons, pesticides and even drugs.

The thing is, most of the drugs we take are first processed in the liver. Then the active substances and principles are distributed through the body through the bloodstream.

In this passage through the liver, some substances require a greater effort from the organ so that they can be absorbed and this is what causes other substances, from other medications, to stop being correctly absorbed. That’s why it’s common to say that one drug “cut the effect” of the other.

In some cases, the contraceptive pill can lose up to 50% of its effect when mixed with other medications. Of course, not all drugs prescribed by specialists change the way the contraceptive works, but there are about 400 remedies whose active ingredient somehow influences not only the effectiveness of the contraceptive. Some medications can cause other problems when taken with birth control pills.

Contraceptives and drugs for psychiatric treatment in general

Barbiturate drugs such as phenobarbital (found in Gardenal) and carbamazepine (used in epilepsy pills) can dramatically reduce the effects of the contraceptive.

Birth Control and St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort is a herbal medicine used as a natural antidepressant. What seems harmless, in fact, can nullify the contraceptive effect by up to 60%.

Contraceptives and prokinetics/laxatives

Prokinetics are drugs used to treat reflux. Both prokinetics and laxatives decrease the length of time the contraceptive remains in the intestine, reducing its absorption and, naturally, its effectiveness.

Contraceptives and antibiotics

Most antibiotics interfere with the functioning of contraceptives, but those considered to be the most harmful are those whose formula contains rifampicin. These cut the effect by up to 50%.

Other combinations

Combining birth control and anti-inflammatories, antifungals, analgesics and even antifungal medications can reduce the effectiveness of treatment. Anti-inflammatories, when taken together with birth control pills, can cause bleeding.

indirect factors

In addition to medications, other factors can also indirectly decrease the contraceptive effect.

The consumption of alcoholic beverages, for example, does not compromise the treatment, as long as the woman does not exaggerate and vomit. Vomiting caused by excess alcohol, yes, can affect the effect of the pill. In the same way, an eventual diarrhea can also be responsible for this decrease.

Cigarettes are another decisive factor. The combination between it and the pill increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, since the contraceptive method is composed of estrogen and progesterone. Thus, the only pill indicated for women who smoke is the one that contains only progesterone in its composition.

It is critical to talk to your doctor before mixing any medications. He can guide you properly so that you take the necessary care, in case the medication to be taken cannot be replaced.

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only. They do not replace the advice and follow-up of doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, physical education professionals and other specialists.

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