Gerald S. Fine, D.D.S.

   Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Brookline Office
Tel: 617-731-6060

Our commitment is to provide you the highest standard of oral and maxillofacial surgery in a professional manner.

Antibiotics and Oral Contraceptives

Recently a young female patient was referred to my office for the removal of an abscessed maxillary first molar tooth. The patient had significant swelling in the area and I initiated an antibiotic regime of Pen Vee "K" 500 mg four times a day and rescheduled her extraction for later that week, when the infection was contained by the antibiotic. The patient had no significant past medical history although she was using birth control pills. I explained to her that the antibiotic might reduce the effectiveness of the oral contraceptive. She laughed and showed me a picture of her 8 month old daughter. She then said, "I wished my dentist had told me that."

Many women use the oral contraceptive pill to prevent pregnancy. Although this form of oral contraception is highly effective, concomitant use of antibiotics can increase the risk of an unplanned pregnancy. A patient had won a lawsuit against her dentist after becoming pregnant soon after taking an antibiotic the dentist had prescribed. Amoxicillin, Erythromycin, Pen Vee "K", Tetracycline, Clindamycin, and Metronidazole all have been reported to cause oral contraceptive failure.

Most broad spectrum antibiotics can reduce oral contraceptive effectiveness. When prescribing antibiotics for a woman of childbearing age, dentist should instruct the patient to use a supplemental method of birth control during the course of antibiotic therapy and for 7 days after stopping. Dentists should take detailed histories and specifically ask if the patient is taking oral contraceptive pills before prescribing antibiotics to women of childbearing age.

‍Gerald S. Fine, D.D.S.
Practice limited to oral & maxillofacial surgery‍