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Skin Care and Diseases

Doryx and birth control pills

02/28/2006

Question:

I recently began seeing a Dermatologist and he just prescribed Doryx for my acne. I have also been on the birth control pill Lo-ovral for almost 3 years. My dermatologist said hes researched it and it shouldnt be a problem but in searching myself online pretty much all the sites I found said the Doryx could decrease the effectiveness of the birth control. Is this true? Should I be worries about it?

Answer:

Tetracyclines as a group, do occasionally interfere with affective blood levels of oral contraceptives and it is my understanding that cases of pregnancy have been recorded following the institution of a Tetracycline over prolonged periods of time.  As I am sure you are aware, the Physician's Desk Reference says virtually nothing about that issue; rather it lists numerous forms of central nervous system, skeletal and hypersensitivity reactions to Tetracyclines.  Doxycycline (Doryx) is usually used for short periods of time but dermatologists do use it for long periods of time in the treatment of pustular acne.

It would be my suggestion that you call the 800 number of the manufacturer of Doryx which is 1-800-521-8813.  They can give you very precise information and answer your questions in detail.  Be prepared to give trade names of your oral contraceptive and the dosage of not only your birth control pill but also of the Tetracycline.

My recommendation to you would be that until you find out precisely how the drug might affect your contraceptive measures, that you use two forms of birth control.  Your birth control pill plus either male or female condoms. 

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Response by:

Charles L Heaton, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati