The company behind the birth control Taytulla is recalling hundreds of thousands of packs of the drug because they improperly packaged with placebo pills in the spots where active ones should have been.
If a woman took the affected Taytulla doses in the order the package presented them, she would wind up taking four placebo pills at the beginning of her cycle instead of the end.
Taking the wrong pill on the wrong day increases the risk of an unintended pregnancy.
Alleregan, the drug’s maker, announced Wednesday that it is recalling a batch of the drugs that expires in May of next year.
Some 170,000 packs of the birth control Taytulla were distributed with the placebo pills in the first four slots, rather than the last, raising unintended pregnancy risks and prompting a recall
More than 60 percent of women who are in their reproductive years use a contraceptive and 28 percent of those rely on oral drugs to prevent unplanned pregnancies.
According to their instructions and the Food and Drug Administration’s guidance, oral contraceptives need to be taken every day in order to be effective.
Taytulla costs about $175 without a prescription and is unique in that it is offered in a softgel capsule that some people find easier to swallow uses a low, daily dose of estrogen to prevent pregnancy.
Off birth control, a woman’s period lasts an average of eight days or less.
Birth control shortens menstruation, so the first few days of woman’s cycle are typically when she is bleeding.
Doctors instruct women to start taking their hormonal birth control the first day after their period stops. This way, they should be well-protected by the time their most fertile days – which start five or six days after a period ends – roll around.
Then, the placebos at the end of the birth control pack allow the body’s hormones to rebound and they have their period.
But in the 170,000 faulty packages, Taytulla’s placebos were put in the first four pill slots.
The pills do look visually different from the active ones, but the manufacturer, Allergan, is taking no chances.
‘As a result of this packaging error, oral contraceptive capsules, that are taken out of sequence, may place the user at risk for contraceptive failure and unintended pregnancy,’ the company wrote in a statement.
‘The reversing of the order may not be apparent to either new users or previous users of the product, increasing the likelihood of taking the capsules out of order.’