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Birth Control: Getting Started and Best Practices

How effective are birth control pills? The patch? The ring?

Last updated on September 1, 2020

When taken as prescribed by a doctor, birth control pills, the birth control patch, and the birth control ring are all over 99% effective. For the pill, this means taking your pill at the same time every day and not missing any pills; for the patch, this means replacing your patch at the same time each week; for the ring, this means inserting a new ring on the correct day each month.

In addition to following these guidelines, you also need to make sure you aren’t taking any medications that could interfere with your birth control’s efficacy. These medications include, but are not limited to: certain antibiotics (like Rifampin, Rifampicin, and Rifamate), certain antifungals (like Griseofulvin), some HIV medications, some anti-seizure and bipolar disorder medications, and the herb St John’s Wort.  

If you take any of these medications, or if you’re unsure that you can follow the timing requirements of your prescription, your birth control may not be be as effective. If you have questions or concerns about efficacy, we’re happy to discuss them with you.

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