Does Pristiq affect birth control? (+3 factors)

In this article, we will discuss the impact of Pristiq on birth control. We will look at the interactions between Pristiq and birth control. Furthermore, we will shed some light on the potential effects caused by birth control due to Pristiq use. We will also look at the management strategies to avoid these side effects.

Does Pristiq affect birth control? 

No, Pristiq does not affect birth control. There is no strong evidence found about the effects of Pristiq on birth control methods such as birth control pills. 

Pristiq belongs to serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressants which work by blocking the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine in the synaptic cleft thus, increasing their levels and activity in the brain (1).

Whereas, birth control methods or contraceptives are ways to avoid pregnancy. Birth control is done by medicines, surgeries, or implanting devices. Hormonal oral contraceptive pills may interact with concurrent medications (2).

It is important to stay vigilant while taking Pristiq and birth control pills for any potential interaction. This interaction may be complex and can vary among some patients. However, consult your doctor before taking birth control pills while on Pristiq to avoid any harmful interactions. 

What does research suggest?

Research studies were conducted to observe the co-administration of hormonal oral contraceptive pills along with antidepressants for comorbid anxiety and depression results and the safety or efficacy of both medications or not (3).

Reproductive-aged women were included in this study. Various antidepressants belonging to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) were used to conduct the study (3).

However, the results showed that women taking hormonal oral contraceptives with SSRI and TCA antidepressants were affected. While women who took SNRIs and MAOI antidepressants had no drug interactions or harmful outputs (3). 

Therefore, based on the results of this study, it could be concluded that Pristiq, which belongs to the SNRI antidepressants class, does not show an impact on oral hormonal birth control pills and does not directly affect pregnancy comorbid with depression or anxiety (3). 

What factors may affect birth control while taking Pristiq?

Following are some factors that may impact birth control while taking Pristiq: 

  • Concurrent medications- Taking other medications along with Pristiq and birth control pills, could lead to additional interactions and may affect pregnancy.


  • Pre-existing health conditions- Underlying health conditions may also impact taking Pristiq with birth control. Health conditions that affect the liver and metabolism may impact pregnancy while taking Pristiq and birth control pills. 


  • Dosage and timing- Potential interactions may occur depending upon the dosage and time of administration of Pristiq and birth control pills. 


  • Individual factors- Different patients react varyingly to the medications. Individual patient variations influence the impact of an individual’s body response to either Pristiq or birth control pills and may affect pregnancy accordingly. 

How to ensure proper use of birth control pills? 

The following steps must be followed, if you are taking birth control pills (4): 

  • Timing- Make sure to take birth control pills at the same time each day. You can set an alarm to avoid inconsistency in taking your pills. 


  • Storage- Birth control pills need to be stored at an appropriate temperature and in a dry, cool place. Avoid keeping your pills in high temperatures or direct sunlight which may affect their integrity and stability. 


  • Avoid missing doses- Make sure to keep track of your dosing and do not miss on your regular dosing. If you miss your dose or have accidentally taken an extra dosage then consult your doctor to avoid complications. 


  • Track refills- Make sure to keep your pills in an ample amount before running out of them. 

What to do if Pristiq affects birth control and pregnancy? 

If you suspect that taking Pristiq along with birth control pills is affecting your hormonal levels and has a profound effect on pregnancy, then consult your doctor and seek guidance regarding this issue. 

After a thorough health assessment, if your doctor figures out that taking Pristiq with birth control pills is altering your fertility and pregnancy, then they might tamper or lower the dosage of Pristiq or may switch you to another antidepressant that suits you best. 

However, your doctor must counsel and educate you about taking Pristiq as it takes almost 4-6 weeks for it to show efficacy for mental health conditions. Based on its delayed onset of action, your doctor may change the timing of Pristiq to avoid potential interaction with birth control pills. 

Always remember to consult your doctor before discontinuing or stopping the dosage of Pristiq abruptly as it may lead to withdrawal symptoms and may cause discomfort. 

In the end, I would advise you to always keep your doctor in the loop and have a transparent and honest discussion with your doctor regarding any underlying condition or concurrent medication that you are taking to avoid potential adversities and delays in the therapeutic efficacy of either medication. 

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Naseeruddin R, Rosani A, Marwaha R. Desvenlafaxine. [Updated 2023 Jul 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:


Hatcher RA, Kowal D. Birth Control. In: Walker HK, Hall WD, Hurst JW, editors. Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd edition. Boston: Butterworths; 1990. Chapter 174. Available from:


Berry-Bibee EN, Kim MJ, Simmons KB, Tepper NK, Riley HE, Pagano HP, Curtis KM. Drug interactions between hormonal contraceptives and psychotropic drugs: a systematic review. Contraception. 2016 Dec;94(6):650-667. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2016.07.011. Epub 2016 Jul 18. PMID: 27444984.


Cooper DB, Patel P, Mahdy H. Oral Contraceptive Pills. [Updated 2022 Nov 24]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:

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