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Pregnancy

Depo & Antibiotics

04/28/1997

Question:

Do antibiotics effect depo prevera(sp?) shots(birth control)? Please e-mail me soon. I fear pregnancy and birth defects. Please answer quick I am nervous.

Answer:

Sorry, but our policy is not to e-mail responses. This is so that the benefit can be shared by others.

Antibiotics don't effect the efficacy of Depo Provera. In fact, little evidence has been shown to prove that they decrease the efficacy of oral birth control pills (except in a few cases of rarer anti-tuberculous medications). What usually happens is that some of the antibiotics increase the incidence of breakthrough bleeding by decreasing the bodies estrogen (but not decreasing the effectiveness of the pill). Many women stop the pill once breakthrough bleeding occurs and then become pregnant. So, as you can see, it was stopping the pill, not the breakthough bleeding that resulted in pregnancy. Of course, if you still are skeptical, consider using additional forms of contraception during the month you are on antibiotics.

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Response by:

Thomas  A deHoop, MD Thomas A deHoop, MD
Formerly Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology
Director, Medical Student Education
No longer associated