Health Canada Issues Warning About Specific Birth Control Pill

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Birth control pill users beware, your pack of pills might not be protecting you as well as it should.

Health Canada recently announced that Alesse 21 and 28 birth control pill packages might contain broken or smaller than normal pills, meaning you might not be fully protected from an unintended pregnancy.

Health Canada says the blister packages contained an active (pink) pill that was roughly half the proper size.



The health agency says the complaints it's received 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

So, what should you do if you're an Alesse user?

Check your pills before and after taking them out of the blister package and do not consume a pill if it looks unusual. You should look carefully at both sides of each pill, checking for anything unusual before taking it. Things to look out for include a different (paler) colour, jagged edges, or a pill that 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.

Health Canada says it's not necessary to stop taking the pills altogether, as this could result in an unwanted pregnancy. If your birth control pack contains an abnormal pill that you have taken or skipped entirely, speak to your doctor or another healthcare provider about other contraceptive options available to you as backup.

Health Canada is asking consumers to report any unusual packages to Pfizer Canada.

"Health Canada is working with the company, Pfizer Canada, to determine the nature and scope of the issue. We will continue to monitor the situation and assess the need for further action. Health Canada will update consumers and health care professionals as appropriate," Health Canada said in an advisory.

So check your Alesse pills carefully and speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.

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