Health Canada Issues Warning For Broken Or Too-Small Birth Control Pills

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Health Canada is advising consumers and health care professionals that complaints have been received for packages of Alesse 21 (21 active pills) and Alesse 28 (21 active pills, 7 that contain no hormones). The blister packages for both contained an active (pink) pill that was roughly half the proper size.

Alesse 21 and Alesse 28 are prescription drugs used to prevent pregnancy.

  • Alesse 21 and Alesse 28. The complaints involved packages from the following lots, but it is not known at this time whether the issue is isolated to these lots:
    • Alesse 21 (DIN 02236974) Lot A2532, expires August 2018
    • Alesse 28 (DIN 02236975) Lot A3183, expires April 2019
  • Check your pills before and after taking them out of the blister package. Do not consume a pill if it looks unusual. Examine both sides of each pill thoroughly for anything unusual before taking it (such as, a different (paler) colour, jagged edges, or the pill is broken or smaller than normal). It may not be immediately obvious from looking at the blister package that there is a problem with the pills, as the underside of the pill cannot be seen while in the blister pack.
  • If you have a package with an unusual pill, return it to your pharmacy for a replacement package.
  • Do not stop taking your birth control pills as this may result in pregnancy. If you have questions or concerns about your birth control product, talk to a health care professional, including about alternatives. Talk to a health care professional if you have any questions or concerns about your birth control product.
  • Report adverse events to health products to Health Canada by calling toll-free at 1-866-234-2345
  • Report complaints about health products to Health Canada by calling toll-free at 1-800-267-9675

 

Broken or smaller-than-normal birth control pills may deliver a smaller dose of the active drug ingredient, which could reduce its effectiveness in preventing pregnancy.

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