LSD and birth control pills

Dear Alice,

Does acid (LSD) have a detrimental affect on women who use the birth control pill? Is it possible for a woman to be impregnated by pre-ejaculatory fluids four days after the menstrual cycle after unprotected sex?

— Wondering

Dear Wondering,

To date, there’s no research investigating the effects of the simultaneous use of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD or acid) and birth control pills (BCP). However, previous research has shown that using acid or the pill on their own may adversely impact a person’s blood pressure and serotonin levels. Given their individual potential impact on physical and mental well-being (without being combined), it may be wise to speak with a health care provider or mental health professional to learn more about any specific risks for a given individual. Finally, to answer your other question: yes, it's possible to get pregnant from pre-ejaculatory fluids after menstruation. But, before getting into that more, it may be helpful to dive into a larger conversation about LSD and BCPs.

On their own, LSD and BCPs are known to increase blood pressure. In turn, this might put individuals at higher risks for sexual dysfunction, heart attack, and stroke health threats, as these conditions are all associated with high blood pressure. For this reason, many health care providers avoid prescribing BCPs to people who already experience high blood pressure. Beyond sharing similar effects on blood pressure, LSD and BCPs may also contribute to nausea.

Another factor to consider is that combining LSD and BCPs may create a serotonin imbalance within a person’s body; this imbalance might negatively influence their mood, sexual behavior, motor function, ability to regulate their body temperature and hunger, and ability to relax. While research has shown that each substance on its own may affect serotonin levels, the exact relationship between BCPs and serotonin is unclear. Certain progestin-only BCPs can increase levels of an enzyme, monoamine oxidase, which degrades serotonin. But, for combination BCPs (i.e., those which release both progestin and estrogen), it’s unclear if they increase or decrease serotonin levels. That said, it’s known that LSD directly interacts with serotonin and other neurotransmitters and can cause psychological distress for some. Considering the uncertainty surrounding the effects of both substances on mood changes, someone considering using both substances may want to speak with a mental health professional about the potential effects.

Finally, regarding your question on if it’s possible to get pregnant from pre-ejaculatory fluids shortly after menstruation — the answer is yes, it’s possible, though unlikely. While pre-ejaculatory fluids don't generally contain sperm, it can occur if two sex acts happened one after the other, leaving leftover sperm in the urethra. Ovulation may occur at any point during the menstrual cycle, including during a person’s period (though this is rare). Additionally, sperm can live in the body for up to five days. In fact, if someone has unprotected sex four days after their period, pregnancy is possible if ovulation occurred soon after menstruation ended or if the sperms lingers in the body just in time until a person’s fertility window. 

If you or someone you know suspects they may be pregnant and have recently used LSD, it's worth noting that LSD has been reported to cause spontaneous abortions, as well as health and birth defects in mothers and infants. Regardless if you've used LSD or not, if there's concern about an unanticipated and undesired pregnancy, investigating what pregnancy options are available can be done with assistance of a medical provider or at a reproductive health clinic, such as Planned Parenthood.

Last updated Apr 13, 2018
Originally published Nov 01, 1994