Drug interactions between hormonal contraceptives and psychotropic drugs: a systematic review

Erin N. Berry-Bibee, Myong Jin Kim, Katharine B. Simmons, Naomi K. Tepper, Halley E.M. Riley, H. Pamela Pagano, Kathryn M. Curtis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective To examine whether the co-administration of hormonal contraceptives (HC) and psychotropic drugs commonly used to treat anxiety and/or depression results in safety or efficacy concerns for either drug. Methods We searched PubMed and Cochrane libraries for clinical or pharmacokinetic (PK) studies that examined co-administration of any HC with psychotropic drugs [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), oral benzodiazepines, bupropion, mirtazapine, trazadone, buspirone, hydroxyzine, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), or atypical antipsychotics] in reproductive aged women. Results Of 555 articles identified, 22 articles (18 studies) met inclusion criteria. We identified 5 studies on SSRIs, four on TCAs, one on bupropion, three on atypical antipsychotics and five on oral benzodiazepines. No articles met inclusion criteria for SNRIs, mirtazapine, trazadone, buspirone, hydroxyzine or MAOIs. Overall, clinical studies did not demonstrate differences in unintended pregnancy rates when HCs were administered with and without psychotropic drugs or in psychotropic drug treatment outcomes when psychotropic drugs were administered with and without HCs. PK studies did not demonstrate changes in drug exposure related to contraceptive safety, contraceptive effectiveness or psychotropic drug effectiveness for most classes of psychotropic drugs. However, limited PK data raise concern for HCs increasing systemic exposure of amitriptyline and imipramine (both TCAs), theoretically posing safety concerns. Conclusion Limited quality and quantity evidence on use of psychotropic drugs and HCs suggests low concern for clinically significant interactions, though no data exist specifically for non-oral formulations of HC. Given the high frequency of use for both HCs and psychotropic drugs among reproductive-age women in the US, this review highlights a need for further research in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)650-667
Number of pages18
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Drug interactions
  • Hormonal contraception
  • Psychotropic drugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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