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Doxycycline and its effect on 'the pill'

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I've read a bit of conflicting information regarding the effect of doxycycline on oral contraceptives...ie that it may not actually reduce the effectiveness of the pill.

I take Doxy & Yaz, my derm was aware that I was taking Yaz when he prescribed the Doxy, and did not offer any sort of advice re. using additional contraceptive measures. I assumed that it was the same as for other antibiotics, but I've read otherwise.

Does anyone know?


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Some antibacterials (like ampicillin and doxycycline) can reduce the effectiveness of combined oral contraceptive pills. They do this by impairing the ability of the normal bacteria in the intestines from recycling the estrogen part of the drug in the colon. (The metabolism of the estrogen involves enzymes in the liver and it is recycled in the intestines). Additional precautions should be taken while taking the antibiotic and for 7 days afterward. If those 7 days run beyond the end of a packet then the next packet should be taken without a break. However if the antibiotic course is longer than 3 weeks, as would be in treatment of acne, the bacteria in the gut develop resistance to the antibiotic and additional precautions become unnecessary (unless a new antibiotic is prescribed).

Therefore the doxycycline can initially affect the combined pill and extra precautions should be taken. But after you have been taking the doxycycline for 3 weeks extra precautions are no longer necessary (unless a new antibiotic is prescribed).

I have summarized this information from the BNF- which is the British Doctors prescribing guide.

Hope that helps!

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I suggest you don't take doxycycline and birth control as it could set you up for a horrible candida infection. If you don't have one yet and don't plan on taking a break from either medication, you should probably start at least taking vitamin c and/or probiotic capsules. Culturelle isn't too expensive and the strain is very good.

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