Accidentally Crushed Birth Control Pill: Is It Still Effective?

In the haste of daily routine, have you accidentally crushed your birth control pills due to another unintentional reason? And thinking whether you can use it or not.

It’s suggested not to use some specific birth control pill after crushing it, but most of the pills can be used.

But, a question may arise in our minds.

Are accidentally crushed birth control pills still effective?

The effectiveness of the birth control pill is usually lessened after its crushing. As many contraceptives have enteric coatings on them to retain the dosage within a limit. When a pill undergoes crushing, it loses its coating. However, according to some pharmacists, it’s okay to use crushed pills if you can’t swallow them.

To learn all about accidentally crushed pills, keep reading this article.

Effectiveness of Accidentally Crushed Birth Control Pills

The effectiveness of crushed birth control pills depends on the composition and nature of those pills. Birth control pills that have an enteric coating (coating by a polymer on drugs to prevent its dissolution in any other part of the GIT except the small intestine) on them can lose their effectiveness after being crushed. 

accidentally-crushed-birth-control-pill

Similarly, some emergency contraceptives are there, like the morning after pills, that contain a high dosage of drug in them, are not recommended to use after crushing.

But many birth control pills that we normally use in our routine life can be used after crushing. But the only condition is that you must take all the particles of that drug. Missing one or more parts of the pill will reduce its effectiveness. 

A question may be asked as follows:

Why can’t we use enteric-coated and high dosage birth control pills after crushing?

Enteric-coated pills like Plan B are designed so that pills will dissolve and absorb directly in the small intestine. Our stomach has a low pH, due to acid produced by its glands. 

This acidity of the stomach is enough to destroy the active ingredient in the pills. But, if these pills have enteric coatings on them, stomach acidity will not be able to affect the active ingredients. Pills will directly stop in the small intestine and then absorb into the blood.

Hence, if we use crushed pills (regardless you crushed them intentionally or by mistake), they may destroy in the stomach before their absorption in the blood which makes its effectiveness zero.

Many emergency contraceptives usually contain a high dose of active ingredients. And they are designed in a specific way, on entering the body, it releases its active ingredients accordingly. 

While crushing the pills, some active ingredients become exposed on the surface and randomly absorb by the body in the blood. It can also cause many side effects, such as behaving as an overdose.

Side Effects of Using Crushed Pills

The use of crushed birth control pills can cause many side effects: 

  • All the pills are made with a view to their working in the body. The same applies to birth control pills. Many of them have an enteric coating or another mechanism that prevents them from dissolving quickly in the body. 

But in crushed pills, all distribution of ingredients in the drug becomes uneven, causing them to disperse randomly and behave as an overdose.

  • When we crush a pill, we are actually exposing its active ingredients to the air that may contaminate them, as many toxic gases and other dirt particles are present in the air. 

When we swallow those crushed pills, we are actually ingesting airborne contamination. These factors do not only reduce the effectiveness of the pills but also negatively impact a person’s health.

  • There may be some light-sensitive ingredients in drugs that after crushing become exposed to light. This exposure can alter the effect of the active ingredients in the drugs.
  • Sometimes, crushing may occur so badly that it may break the actual compounds of the drug, decreasing its efficiency.
  • The crushing of high-dose contraceptives may result in an overdose. Birth control pills work by preventing ovulation and fertilization of the egg. All this can be prevented by changing the hormonal balance in the body. 

Birth control pills actually contain hormones in them, such as progestin (man-made hormone, which resembles natural progesterone) and estrogen. During crushing, we actually break the coating of the drug and expose all hormones on the surface of pills. 

While passing through the GIT, these hormones absorb randomly and quickly within the body and start working without any check. This may cause your periods to occur earlier. Also, can affect the functioning of the kidneys.

FAQs

Can we use the crushed birth control pills after mixing them in water?

Answer: No, you can’t use them mixing in water because the effectiveness of birth control pills will change. All drugs can work only if they absorb into the blood. When we mix drugs in water, most of the components will dissolve immediately in water before even reaching the body and lose most of their effectiveness.

Can accidentally crushed birth control pills alter our menstruation cycle?

Answer: It depends on the type of birth control pills that we are using. If we take daily pills after crushing, then as such it does not cause any unusual change in your body, including menstruation. 

But if we take some high-dose birth control pills like morning-after pills, it may act like an overdose. Your periods may come earlier.

Which type of birth control pills can be used after crushing?

Answer: Commonly used birth control pills like Loestrin can be taken after crushing. But you should make sure not to miss a single part of the drug, so the effectiveness won’t be compromised.

Are crushed birth control pills not able to prevent pregnancy?

Answer:Crushed pills normally work in the same way as normal pills do. There are many fewer chances that it may fail in preventing pregnancy just due to the reason that it is in crushed form.

What should you do if you have already taken the crushed birth control pill?

Answer: If you have just taken the accidentally crushed birth control pills without knowing their side effects, you should drink more water. If you are noticing any unusual discomfort after taking the medicine, you should consult your doctor.

Why do some females use birth control pills after crushing?

Answer: Some females feel it difficult to swallow the whole pill, so they crush pills into smaller pieces and then take them easily.

Question: Does the crushing of birth control pills change its composition?

Answer: No, crushing the pills doesn’t change their composition.

Can the addition of crushed pills to shampoo and conditioner cause hair to grow fast?

Answer: It’s trending on social media platforms like TikTok that adding crushed birth control pills to shampoo will help you to grow your hair faster. But it’s not true. There is no such thing as hair growth from crushed birth control pills.

Conclusion

You can use most of the accidentally crushed birth control pills. But it’s not recommended to use high dosage forms of drugs after crushing because it can act like an overdose. 

The effectiveness of the pills can be reduced after crushing. Crushed birth control pills can also cause many side effects. Must consult your doctor before using any accidentally crushed birth control pills.

Dr Hafeez Arshad

Dr Hafeez Arshad

This is Dr. Hafeez. I have done my M.Phil in Pharmacology. I am a healthcare professional. My core competencies focus on writing different types of research articles/blogs regarding health sciences.

Wholesomealive.com -a blog about Healthy Living
Logo