Pfizer announced a recall of one million birth control packs in the United States, and warned users of the products (Lo/Ovral-28, Norgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol) to start using a back up method immediately.
The reason for the recall was a packing error. With birth control pills it is crucial to take each pill in exact order, at the same time each day. The recalled packages may have pills out of order, so women could be taking a placebo pill in the wrong week, or a week one pill during week three. As pills are packaged in a precise order, changing that order or missing pills can cause the birth control to be ineffective.
Each type of pill has specific directions on how to take it. Be sure to read and understand all the directions including what to do if you miss a pill and what may make the pill less effective. For some general information on birth control pills and how to take them, check out Planned Parenthood.
The recall is voluntary and there are no immediate additional health risks (beyond unintended pregnancy and an increase in blood pressure).
A full list of the recalled packs are available at the bottom of Pfizer’s press release. If you are unsure you should contact your prescribing physician. If you think you’re pregnant, take a test! Pfizer makes e.p.t. in case that sways you one way or another.