Birth Control Recall: Packaging Error Could Cause Unintended Pregnancy

The FDA announced a recall of a popular brand of birth control pill. Here's what you need to know.

June 12, 2017
img tilivlrap1aeymti8z9t

If you take oral birth control, you know the drill.

HealthyWay

Even though the last week or so of your pill pack only contains placebos, you still take a pill every day. Otherwise, you risk getting out of the habit—and to be fully effective, hormonal birth control pills should be taken regularly at around the same time each day.

So what would happen if, say, a packaging error switched your placebos from the end of the pack to the beginning?

For one thing, you might end up with a surprise bun in the oven. That’s why so many consumers were freaked out to learn that a pretty commonly used birth control pack was being recalled due to just such a packaging error.

To understand how this could happen, consider the packaging of your pills.

It’s actually a two-piece construction; a plastic blister pack slips inside of a cardboard (or plastic or whatever) container that keeps your consumption organized throughout the month.

HealthyWay
iStock

In this case, an error at the packaging plant ended up slipping the blister pack into the cardboard sleeve the wrong way. What a difference 180 degrees makes. Affected packages could cause women to take placebo pills during the first week of their cycle instead of the last. This could wipe out the effectiveness of the birth control.

Fortunately a remarkably detail-oriented customer noticed that the sleeve was on upside-down. This mystery benefactor sent a “market complaint” to the manufacturer, who quickly issued a recall. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reprinted the recall in order to help get the word out.

HealthyWay
FDA

So if Mibelas 24 Fe chewable tablets from Lupin Pharmaceuticals are your chosen method of birth control, this could affect you.

Check your packaging to see if it’s part of lot L600518, Exp. 05/18. You might have to remove the blister pack from the sleeve to see this information; the packaging mistake actually covers up the lot number and expiration date.

The recalled product will be a blister pack with 28 tablets. The active tablets are white or whitish, with print reading “LU” on one side and “N81” on the other. The remaining four placebo pills will have LU on one side and “M22” on the reverse.

HealthyWay
FDA

If you have an affected package of this medication, Lupin encourages you to tell your doctor and take the package back to your pharmacy.

In fact, if you have one of these products, there’s a pretty good chance the manufacturer has contacted you already.

“Lupin is notifying its distributors and customers by recall letter and is arranging for return of all recalled products,” says the notice posted on the FDA website. The manufacturer is cooperating with and reporting to the FDA during the entire recall process.

HealthyWay
iStock

Lupin Pharmaceuticals told Glamour magazine that “there have been no reported cases of any adverse health consequences due to the mix-up.”

If you have any further questions, you can always contact Lupin at 800-399-2561. They staff the lines 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time Monday through Friday.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Staff Writer