Printer Friendly

Oral contraceptives can be inhibited by antibiotics.

Doctors and auxiliaries should be aware of possibly reduced effectiveness of oral contraceptives (birth control pills) when simultaneously taking antibiotics. Although this effect is usually associated with broad-spectrum antibiotics, any antibiotic could result in unplanned pregnancy. All women of child-bearing age should be warned of this possibility when prescribing any antibiotics. There have been anecdotal reports of dentists and physicians being sued by women who became pregnant while on antibiotic therapy.

Modern birth control pills are estrogen, which inhibit implantation of the fertilized ovum into the uterus. Doctors are concerned about possible harmful effects of estrogen in high doses, so contraceptives have been developed (and are in wide use) that are low-dose estrogen. This is possible because estrogen is a steroid (fat soluble) hormone that is recycled via the hepato-enteric pathway. That is, estrogen taken orally is absorbed into the bloodstream, and also by the liver. In the liver, estrogen is concentrated in bile (fluid used by the body to help digest fats), which is periodically secreted into the gut. The bile estrogen is reabsorbed in the intestines with the help of commensal (naturally helpful) bacteria that live in the gut.

When the woman is taking antibiotics, sometimes the intestinal bacteria are inhibited, which in turn inhibits the usual re-absorption of estrogen. This results in lower blood estrogen, and potentially ineffective contraception.

During brief periods of simultaneous antibiotic administration, women are cautioned to use additional means of contraception. This should continue for the remainder of the monthly cycle. Patients are directed to their physician for information on additional contraceptive alternatives.

ADAA Editorial Director's Note:

Be sure to ask health history questions For Women Only--Are you pregnant? Are you taking birth control pills? And as always at every appointment ask your patient if there have been any changes in their health history/medications in addition to the six-month Health History updates--signed and dated by both the patient and the dentist.
COPYRIGHT 2004 American Dental Assistants Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 
Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Healthbeat
Author:Zussman, Kim
Publication:The Dental Assistant
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Words:319
Previous Article:Burning mouth syndrome: anxious? Depressed? Extinguish pain by analyzing overall health.
Next Article:The wonderful world of dentistry ... come to Anaheim! Anaheim, California--July 8-11, 2004.
Topics:


Related Articles
Simultaneous antibiotic, pill use reviewed. (News Briefs).
Drugs in Drinking Water: Are antibiotic-resistant superbugs evolving? (EH Update).
`Quick start' of pills promising.
Daily pill-taking routine important.
COC use and migraines. (Clinical Challenges).
COCs and acne. (Clinical Challenges).
Some women with genetic susceptibility to breast cancer face elevated risk from oral contraceptive use. (Digests).
No evidence OCs cause weight gain.
Injectable use may increase women's odds of getting chlamydia or gonorrhea.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters