If possible, you should avoid taking other medicines, or herbal remedies, with the contraceptive pill. If a health professional prescribes medicine for you, you should always tell them if you're taking the pill. This is because some medication can affect the way that the pill works.
Antibiotics can affect how estrogen (the active ingredient in the contraceptive pill) is absorbed into your body. This can make the pill less effective, and you'll need to use an additional form of contraceptive, such as a condom. You should use the additional form of contraceptive while you're taking
antibiotics, and for one week after you stop.
There are two main types of pill. The first is the monophasic, or phasic pill, which you take for 21 days, and then take no pills for the next seven days.
The second is the 'Everyday' pill, where there are 21 active pills and seven inactive pills which don't contain any hormones (
placebos). These look different to the active pills. You take one pill a day for 28 days - three weeks on the active pill, and one week on the inactive pill, with no break between packets.
If you're taking monophasic, or phasic pills, and you get to the end of your packet, while you're taking
antibiotics, don't have the usual seven day break. Start your new pill packet right away.
Similarly, if you're taking the Everyday pill, while taking
antibiotics, and you get to the end of your active pills, don't take the seven day course of inactive pills. Start a new course of active pills.
If you're taking
antibiotics during the first seven days of your new pill packet, and you've had sex within the last 5-7 days, you should seek medical advice because you may also need emergency contraception. This is because the
antibiotics may have disrupted the normal protection provided by your pills, and there is a chance that you might have become pregnant.
If you're required to take
antibiotics for more than two weeks, you may need to follow different instructions. Your doctor should be able to provide advice.