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Birth Control Medications

Birth Control Medications

Levlen, Nordette
Alesse, Levlite        
Loestrin 21, Loestrin Fe
Brevicon, Genora 0.5/35
Ovcon 35
Genora 1/50, Norinyl,
Genora 1/35, Necon 1/35
Ovcon-50, Desogen, Ortho Cept
Loestrin, Loestrin Fe

Ortho-Novum 10/11

Tri-Norinyl, Ortho-Novum 777,
Tri Levlen, Triphasil
Ortho Tri-Cyclen

Nutritional Considerations:

The levels of the following vitamins may be reduced in long-term use of oral contraceptives: vitamins B6, B12, C, and folic acid. Discuss necessary supplementation with your pharmacist. (Bhagavan 1983) (Briggs 1973) (Kishi 1997) (Kornberg 1989) (Prasad 1975) (Van Nostrand 1988) (Weininger 1982)

Low dietary intake of riboflavin with the use of oral contraceptives would increase the risk of diminishing riboflavin. (Roe 1982)

The levels of the following nutrients are increased with use of contraceptives: vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Consult your physician or pharmacist concerning necessary precautions to monitor the levels of these nutrients. (Blum 1991) (Mooij 1991) (Prasad 1975)

Limit caffeine. Contraceptive agents increase the effect of caffeine. (Facts and Comparisons 2000)

Herbal Considerations:

Avoid Herbs that contain vitamin K: alfalfa, nettle, plantain, they can increase the risk of clotting in people using oral contraceptives. (Brinker 1998)

Do not take St. John's Wort together with oral contraceptives; this can result in decreased effect of the oral contraceptives and breakthrough bleeding. (Yue 2000)

Saw Palmetto can interfere with oral contraceptives and should not be used together. (Newall 1996)

Cola, cocoa, guarana, and mate all are herbal sources of caffeine and should be avoided with oral contraceptives. (Brinker 1998)

Do not use tobacco with oral contraceptives due to increased risk of clots (especially women over age 30). Estrogen is metabolized more quickly by tobacco. (Brinker 1998)

To avoid additive effects, do not use soy, licorice, red clover, thyme, turmeric, hops, or verbena with oral contraceptives. (Zava 1998)


Bhagavan HN, Brin M: Drug-Vitamin B6 Interaction, Curr Concepts Nutr, 1983, 12:1-12.

Blum M, Kitai E, Ariel Y, Et Al: Oral Contraceptive Lowers Serum Magnesium, Harefuah, 1991, 121 (10):363-4.

Briggs MH: Vitamin C and infertility. Lancet, 1973 Sep 22, 2:830, 677-8.

Brinker, F. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. Eclectic Institute, 1998.

Facts and Comparisons, Clinisphere 2.0, Wolters Kluwer Company, 1999.

Kishi H, Kishi T, Williams RH, et al: Deficiency of vitamin B6 in women taking contraceptive formulations, Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol, 1997, 17(2):283-93.

Kornberg A, Segal R, Theitler J, et al: Folic acid deficiency, megaloblastic anemia and peripheral polyneuropathy due to oral contraceptives, Isr J Med Sci, 1989, 25 (3): 142-5.

Mooij, PN et al., Multivitamin supplementation in oral contraceptive users. Contraception, 1991, 44(3):277-288.

Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines A Guide for Health-care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996.

Prasad AS, Lei KY, Moghissi KS, et al: Effect of oral contraceptives on nutrients III - Vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid, Am J Obstet Gynecol, 1976, 125(8):1063-9.

Roe DA, Bogusz S, Sheu J, McCormick DB. Factors affecting riboflavin requirements of oral contraceptive users and nonusers. Am J Clin Nutr 1982 Mar; 35(3): 495-501

Van Nostrand Reinhold: Oral contraceptives and nutrient interactions, 1988:38

Weininger J, King JC: Effect of oral contraceptive agents on ascorbic acid metabolism in the rhesus monkey, Am J Clin Nutr, 1982, 35(6):1408-16.

Yue QY, Bergquist C, Gerd?n B. Safety of St John's wort, Lancet 2000;355(9203).

Zava, DT: Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs and spices. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 1998, 217:369-378.