For Glamour, by Maggie Mallon.
Thanks to a packaging error, women taking a popular birth control pill may have accidentally been taking placebos when they believed they were taking oral contraceptives.
In an announcement made last month, Baltimore-based drug company Lupin Pharmaceuticals recalled a batch of its Mibelas 24 Fe tablets after a “confirmed market complaint” revealed that a packaging mix-up had swapped the contraceptive tablets with the nonhormonal placebos. Each set comes with 28 tablets — 24 with the active ingredients, each labeled “LU” on one side and “N81” on the other, and 4 placebos that say “LU” on one and “M22” on the opposite. (Traditionally these placebos are taken during the time where you get your period — drug manufacturers include these inactive pills to keep patients in the habit of taking their pills daily during menstruation).
But when the blister pack that houses this particular batch of pills was being placed within its wallet, the package was accidentally rotated 180 degrees. This then reversed the weekly orientation of the tablets, meaning that the first four days of the set would be the nonhormonal placebos, not the intended contraceptive pills. According to Lupin Pharmaceuticals, the mistake affects Lot Number L600518 with a May 31, 2018, expiration date.
“According to Lupin Pharmaceuticals, the mistake affects Lot Number L600518 with a May 31, 2018, expiration date.”
“As a result of this packaging error, oral contraceptive tablets that are taken out of sequence may place the user at risk for contraceptive failure and unintended pregnancy,” the company said in a statement. “The reversing the order may not be apparent to either new users or previous users of the product, increasing the likelihood of taking the tablets out of order.”
Lupin says that there have been no reported cases of any adverse health consequences due to the mix-up and has sent a recall letter to its customers and distributors to arrange for a return of the recalled pills. They are also urging those who are affected by this batch of the Mibelas 24 Fe birth control pills to alert their doctors about the recalled tablets and return the medication to its place of purchase. Anyone with more questions about the recall can contact Lupin Pharmaceuticals by phone at 1-800-399-2561 between 8:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. EST, Monday through Friday.
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