Drug interactions between non-rifamycin antibiotics and hormonal contraception: a systematic review


      The purpose of this study was to determine whether interactions between non-rifamycin antibiotics and hormonal contraceptives result in decreased effectiveness or increased toxicity of either therapy.

      Study Design

      We searched MEDLINE, Embase,, and Cochrane libraries from database inception through June 2016. We included trials, cohort, case-control, and pharmacokinetic studies in any language that addressed pregnancy rates, pharmacodynamics, or pharmacokinetic outcomes when any hormonal contraceptive and non-rifamycin antibiotic were administered together vs apart. Of 7291 original records that were identified, 29 met criteria for inclusion.

      Study Appraisal and Synthesis Methods

      Two authors independently assessed study quality and risk of bias using the United States Preventive Services Task Force evidence grading system. Findings were tabulated by drug class.


      Study quality ranged from good to poor and addressed only oral contraceptive pills, emergency contraception pills, and the combined vaginal ring. Two studies demonstrated no difference in pregnancy rates in women who used oral contraceptives with and without non-rifamycin antibiotics. No differences in ovulation suppression or breakthrough bleeding were observed in any study that combined hormonal contraceptives with any antibiotic. No significant decreases in any progestin pharmacokinetic parameter occurred during co-administration with any antibiotic. Ethinyl estradiol area under the curve decreased when administered with dirithromycin, but no other drug.


      Evidence from clinical and pharmacokinetic outcomes studies does not support the existence of drug interactions between hormonal contraception and non-rifamycin antibiotics. Data are limited by low quantity and quality for some drug classes. Most women can expect no reduction in hormonal contraceptive effect with the concurrent use of non-rifamycin antibiotics.

      Key words

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