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Birth control pills recalled for packaging error

September 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A million-and-a-half sets of birth control pills are being recalled because of a packaging error. The packaging error could lead to incorrect dosing and unintended pregnancies.

Pharmacies have already been instructed to call women who have been prescribed the pills. And now many women are second guessing a form of birth control they thought was guaranteed.

The Alabama-based pharmaceutical company Qualitest is recalling several types of birth control pills, which they say were inadvertently put in the wrong packaging slots.

That could cause a mistake in the dosage and conceal the expiration dates.

"The purpose of birth control pills in general is to block ovulation," said OBGYN Dr. David Ahdoot. "Depending on the dose and the timing when you take the birth control pills, or if there is an interruption in birth control pills, it could cause you to ovulate and therefore get pregnant."

Ahdoot says he's been getting calls from concerned patients already. He says if your pills are on the list, the best thing to do is use a back-up method of birth control and call your doctor.

Though the error could result in unintended pregnancies, there are no immediate health risks. But you can expect your menstrual cycle to be off.

"I took them as a teenager, so I can't imagine finding out that my birth control pills weren't effective," said Burbank resident Mary Tuttle. "I'd be terrified that I could end up with a baby that I didn't want. And babies should be a joy, and something that you're expecting and wanting. Babies should be cherished and not something that happened because some pharmaceutical company screwed up."

The recall affects certain lots of Cyclafem, Emoquette, Gildess, Orsythia, Previfem and Tri-Previfem.

The pharmaceutical company was contacted Friday morning, but a representative did not reply. Anyone who wants more information can contact Qualitest at (877) 300-6153.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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