Esme-28 pulled from market, second birth-control pill recalled in 10 days

TORONTO – The company that removed one of its birth-control pills from the market last week due to a packaging error is now recalling a second oral contraceptive.

Mylan Pharmaceuticals is recalling Esme-28 after it was unable to rule out the possibility that the product was affected by the same packaging mix-up that occurred with Freya-28.

Freya-28 was recalled Aug. 27 after a pharmacist reported that one package was found to contain a placebo pill in place of a pill with active ingredients.

To date, no packaging errors have been reported with Esme-28, which should have three rows of active pink pills and one row of green placebo pills.

Missing one or more active pills could result in reduced effectiveness for contraception, with the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy.

Mylan is recalling Esme-28 Lot F5042001C, but the company says its product Esme-21 is not affected.

Women using birth control pills take the drugs for 21 days each menstrual cycle. Because of the risk that they might not remember to resume taking their pills at the right time, many oral contraceptives are packaged with a pill for each of the 28 days in a cycle — 21 are drug and seven are placebos.

Health Canada says women who have been taking Esme-28 should use a barrier method of birth control, such as condoms, spermicidal foam or gel and contact their health-care provider for medical advice.

Consumers should return unopened packages to their pharmacist and report any adverse reactions potentially related to Esme-28 to Health Canada by calling toll-free 1-866-234-2345.