Birth control pills come in numerous brands and types with varying degrees of manufactured estrogen and progestin. These hormones stop ovulation and help prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Most pill packs have two types of pills, one set of 21 pills with active ingredients and 7 pills that are placebo pills usually only containing sugar or sometimes a lower dose of the hormones used. To ensure effectiveness it is important to take the pills in the proper order.
Pfizer Inc, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, announced this week that they are recalling 14 lots of their Lo/Ovral-28 tablets and 14 lots of Norgestrel/Ethinyl Estradiol tablets. They state that a manufacturing error led to some of the pills being placed in an incorrect order leading some inactive pills to be mixed in with the active pills. They were alerted to the problem when a customer called and reported that pills in her pack were out of order. The problem was found and corrected immediately.The affected lots numbers can be found on the official press release located here.
According to a report by the Huffington Post, doctors and pharmacists are not expecting a lot of patients being impacted by this as Lo/Ovral and the generic version Norgestrel/Ethinyl Estradiol are not commonly prescribed as they are an older version and newer options with lower hormone levels are available.
However, taking inactive pills in the wrong order can significantly lower the effectiveness of prescription birth control so if you take either of these pills please compare your lot number to those listed. If your lot number matches, return them to the pharmacy you pick up your prescriptions at and begin using a non-hormonal back up method such as condoms or sponges right away. The press release from Pfizer also advises informing your doctor if you are using one of the affected lots.