Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Will ciprofloxacin make my birth control pill less effective?"

ZocdocAnswersWill ciprofloxacin make my birth control pill less effective?


I'm 28 and have been taking Ortho TriCyclen Lo for 10 years. I was recently diagnosed with a bladder infection and given a regimen of Cipro. I know antibiotics are sometimes contraindicated with hormonal birth control - should I use an additional form of birth control during and after my course of Cipro?


When taking prescription medications, it is always a good idea to find out whether the addition of a new medication can alter the effectiveness or side effects of existing medications. Questions about interactions between prescription (or non-prescription) medications are best answered by the physician prescribing the medication or by a pharmacist. The efficacy of oral contraceptive pills can be altered by some medications, including some antibiotics. However, ciprofloxacin is not thought to be one of these antibiotics and you should be able to continue taking your Ortho TriCyclen as you have been doing, plus the course of cipro for the bladder infection, without any problems. However, since the consequences of an unintended pregnancy can be substantial, for your own peace of mind it would also certainly be reasonable to use an additional form of birth control while you are taking the Cipro. As with any sexual encounter, it is important to remember that practicing safe sex is the only way to protect the health of both partners. While oral contraceptives are very effective at preventing unintended pregnancies when used properly, they offer not protection when it comes to the transmission of any sexually transmitted diseases. Further questions about medication side effects or sexual health are best answered by a primary care physician.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.