It has been one tough week in the world of women’s health. First we have the news and debate regarding religious exemptions and the new preventative service requirements, then the announcement of the Susan G Komen For the Cure foundation was pulling funding from Planned Parenthood that paid for mammograms and now we have news about a birth control pill recall. They say bad news comes in threes, so here is hoping we are done for awhile.
Women’s Health News 2012: Act III
A birth control pill… what?! A recall? Yes, you read that right. Drug magnate Pfizer announced that they were recalling over 1 million packages of Lo/Ovral, a birth control pill, due to some packages having the pills in the wrong order in the package. This means that some users could have packets with placebo pills during the 21 days they should be taking active pills, and some users could be taking active pills when they should be taking placebo pills. The problem was blamed on both a mechanical and visual inspection errors and the problem that caused it has been corrected.
To start, the good news is that Pfizer estimates only 30 packages of pills were truly affected by this, and the recall is purposefully much wider to ensure no one is taking an ineffective package of birth control pills. The bad news is most people don’t know what to do during a drug recall, not to mention the “side effect” of ineffective birth control is pretty devastating. So now what?
The recalled birth control is Lo/Ovral®-28 (norgestrel and ethinyl estradiol) Tablets and Norgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets (generic).
Lo/Ovral and its generic version look like this:
The recalled packets have expiration dates ranging between July 31, 2013 and March 31, 2014, and you can always find more information from the FDA here. If you have (or think you have) a recalled package on you, you should do two things: first return the prescription to the pharmacy you purchased it from (they can and should be able to swap this out with a non-recalled package at no cost to you) and second, call your physician to let him or her know about this.
Drug recalls are scary, but the FDA has a handy place on their website where you can get up to date information on any type of food, drug or biologic recall in the United States. They even have a Twitter handle if you prefer to get your info that way!
Here is hoping next week the women’s health news is less divisive and scary and more uplifting and forward moving. A girl can dream, right?