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Beware of birth control failures with some of the new obesity medications.

Question:

Do GLP-1s impact how well birth control pills work?


Answer:

While these medications were first approved for the treatment of diabetes, they’ve become popular and ubiquitous for weight loss. Ozempic, Wegovy, Victoza, and Mounjaro are all part of a class of medications called GLP-1 receptor agonists that control blood sugar and induce rapid weight loss.


But be aware that these medications—in particular Mounjaro— can interfere with the absorption of birth control pills, making an unintended pregnancy more likely. Apparently, this particular issue is not being addressed adequately in counseling. Make sure to discuss all the potential benefits and risks with your health care provider before using.


What to know:

The Mounjaro package insert carries a warning about the potential for decreased birth control pill effectiveness, presumed to be the result of Mounjaro’s effect on the absorption of food - and the birth control pill. Specifically it states: “Reproductive Potential: Advise females using oral contraceptives to switch to a non-oral contraceptive method, or add a barrier method of contraception for 4 weeks after initiation and for 4 weeks after each dose escalation.”


It is unclear whether Ozempic, Wegovy, and other meds have this same issue.

The potential interference may worsen as people increase their Mounjaro dosage.

There is speculation that Mounjaro may also decrease birth control patch effectiveness in a way not directly related to food absorption.


People using these medications who do not want to become pregnant may want to switch to a different kind of birth control such as an IUD or add a barrier method like condoms on top of their oral contraceptive pill usage.


The CDC will be publishing new Medical Criteria for Contraceptive use this year, and they will probably add information on this topic so stay tuned.


Please let me know if you have additional questions,


– Dr. Z


See disclaimer below



DISCLAIMER: This information is for educational purposes only and not intended to guide individual therapy. Answers should never substitute for consultation with a healthcare provider or counselor who can make decisions based on an individual’s history, desires, and circumstances. Always seek the advice of a clinician for any questions regarding health, medical condition, birth control method or other family planning or social issues. Under no circumstances should an individual use this information in lieu of, or to override, the judgment of a treating clinician. Dr. Zieman, or SageMed LLC, is not responsible, or liable, for errors, omissions, or any damage or loss incurred as a result of use of any birth control method or use or reliance on any material or information provided through this website.

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