Caution, Ladies: More Birth Control Pills Recalled

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For the second time in a month, a major birth control pill maker has recalled versions of its oral contraceptives.

On Feb. 24, Glenmark Generics Inc. recalled seven lots of its generic norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol tablets because of a packaging error that caused pills to land in the wrong order. In its normal packaging, 28 tablets are aligned in four rows, with active pills of norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol in the first three rows and placebos in the bottom row. In a statement, the drug company explained that, “select blisters were rotated 180 degrees within the card, reversing the weekly tablet orientation and making the lot number and expiry date visible only on the outer pouch. Any blister for which the lot number and expiry date is not visible is subject to recall.”

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The India-based company released a warning that the seven recalled lots of norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol tablets distributed in the U.S. between Sept. 21 and Dec. 30, 2011, could leave women with increased risk of unintended pregnancy. The affected lot numbers are 04110101, 04110106, 04110107, 04110114, 04110124, 04110129 and 04110134.

“With birth control pills, if the exact count or sequence is out of order the efficacy of the birth control pill could be significantly decreased. If this is the case, patients may be experiencing irregular bleeding and may be at higher risk for unintended pregnancy,” Dr. Adam Jacobs, assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at Mount Sinai Medical Center, told HealthDay.

Earlier this month, Pfizer Inc. similarly recalled nearly 1 million birth control pills for faulty packaging. The company recalled 14 lots of Lo/Ovral-28 tablets and 14 lots of generic norgestrel and ethinyl estradiol tablets because of a packaging error that resulted in too many active pills in some packages and not enough in others. The expiration dates on the packets are between July 31, 2013, and March 31, 2014.

What should you do if you’ve been taking recalled pills? Dr. Jill Rabin, chief of ambulatory care, obstetrics and gynecology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York, told HealthDay that affected women should make sure they’re not pregnant and immediately begin using a non-hormonal form of contraception. They should also notify their physician or health care provider and return the faulty pills to the pharmacy.

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