Are you considering taking St. John’s wort as a natural alternative to prescription medication? St. John’s wort may be beneficial to many consumers, especially those with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but if you are currently taking birth control pills, you should be aware of potential drug interactions.
St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) is one of the most commonly purchased health supplements in the United States, according to a survey conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. It is a popular natural alternative to prescription antidepressants. But its popularity only increases the concern over interactions with prescription drugs, including birth control pills.
A compound in St. John’s wort increases the metabolism of many drugs. Interactions of prescription drugs with St. John’s wort may include decreased effectiveness of the drug, or even an increased effectiveness.
If you are currently on an oral contraceptive, take caution before taking St. John’s wort as a natural remedy. There have been reports of breakthrough bleeding in women who were concurrently taking both birth control pills and St. John’s wort. Even more seriously, it is possible that the herb could interfere with the effectiveness of birth control pills (leading to unplanned pregnancies).
In fact, a warning was issued in 2002 by Sweden’s Medical Products Agency that St. John’s wort may interfere with the effectiveness of birth control pills. This was a result of reports from two women who became pregnant while taking oral contraceptives along with products that contained St. John’s wort. Previously, eight women had reported experiencing abnormal menstrual bleeding while taking the two concurrently.
However, only three of these eight women returned to a normal menstrual cycle after discontinuing the herb, so it is possible that something else might have contributed to these abnormal changes. There is no conclusive evidence that St. John’s wort does, indeed, decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.
St. John’s wort may be beneficial to many consumers, especially those with Seasonal Affective Disorder, so I am not discouraging its use at all. The purpose of this article is simply to alert you about potential drug interactions of St. John’s wort with birth control pills.
Possible Interactions with: St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort Decreases Efficacy of Birth Control Pills
**Note: This health information is not intended to be medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical care. If you are currently on birth control pills, and are considering taking St. John’s wort, you should consult with your doctor first.