Can Your Mood Stabilizer Interfere With Birth Control?

Some mood stabilizers can interfere with birth control
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The answer is yes, some of them can. Carbamazepine (sold as Tegretol and other brand names) is especially known for causing contraceptive failures, and because this drug also has a higher than normal risk for causing birth defects, secondary methods of birth control such as condoms and, possibly, increasing the dosage of birth control medication is recommended.

Trileptal (oxcarbazepine) may also interfere with contraceptives.

Birth control pills containing estrogen or progestin, contraceptive progestin injections, and contraceptive implant forms of progestin may not work properly if you take them while you are taking oxcarbazepine. Topamax (topiramate) has a risk of decreased contraceptive efficiency as well as carrying a strong warning about birth defects.

These drugs are anticonvulsants, drugs used to treat seizure disorders. According to Epilepsy Action, Depo-Provera contraceptive injections can speed up bone loss, as can some anti-epileptic drugs, which may lead to osteoporosis. Thus, if you take any anticonvulsant and are considering using Depo-Provera injections, seek advice about osteoporosis from your doctor.

In the case of another anticonvulsant, Lamictal (lamotrigine), birth control can affect how well the mood stabilizer works. If you are starting to take lamotrigine, make sure to tell your doctor if you are taking birth control medication; if you are already taking Lamictal, tell your doctor right away if you start - or stop - taking birth control.

These aren't the only possible interactions between bipolar drugs and contraceptives. For example, birth control pills can increase the concentration of some benzodiazepines, including Xanax (alprazolam) and others, which may lead to heightened effects.

The bottom line: if you are taking or want to take contraceptives, always make sure the doctor who prescribes your bipolar medications knows about it, and that the doctor prescribing the contraceptive knows about your bipolar medications.

It's also worthwhile to talk to your pharmacist about possible drug interactions.

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