Health Canada has issued a recall on Alysena 28 birth control following concerns about chipped pills.

Oral contraceptives, such as Alysena, are used for a variety reasons, including for irregular or heavy menstrual cycles, menstrual cramps, PMS, POI (Primary Ovarian Insufficiency), acne, and as hormone replacement therapy. More commonly, oral contraceptives are also used to prevent pregnancy in women who are sexually active.

This is the secondbirth control recall that Health Canada has issued on oral contraceptives in recent months, as it was just in December that Alesse 21 and 28 birth control pills were recalled for similar reasons. You can read more on the Alesse recall by clicking here.

While the Alysena 28 recall (which began on February 9th, 2018) is voluntary, Health Canada warns that any chipped pink pills may contain less of the active ingredient which might reduce the effectiveness of the drug and therefore result in unintended pregnancy. The current lot of Alysena 28 that is affected by this recall is Lot # LF10133A / DIN # 02387875, with an expiry date of 10/2019. The company responsible for the distribution of the drug, Apotex, says they will send recall notices out to pharmacies. If you notice any adverse reactions from the drug itself, you are asked to contact Apotex directly by calling 1-800-667-5708 or by e-mailing Adverse reactions can also be reported to Health Canada by calling 1-866-234-2345, and you can also report any adverse reactions to this or other medications using their online side effect reporting tool.

Prior to taking any medication, especially birth control pills, there are a few things that Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family physician from Vancouver, recommends doing:

1. Always check your pills before removing them from the blister package.
2. Once pills have been removed from the blister package, make sure you examine them thoroughly prior to consumption.
3. Never consume any pills that look unusual – for example, any chipped pills, pills that have jagged edges, are broken, or have a different shape, size or colour that you’re used to seeing.

If you notice any abnormalities with your medication or have been directly affected by this or any other Health Canada recall, it’s important that you take the medication to your pharmacy so that they can issue you a replacement. If you have any other questions about your birth control medication or you have missed any dose as a result of a recall, it’s important that you speak to your family physician about alternatives.

For more information on the Alysena 28 recall, click here.