Last week, there was a nationwide birth control recall that included Cyclafem 7/7/7, Cyclafem 1/35, Emoquette, Gildess FE 1.5/30, Gildess FE 1/20, Orsythia, Previfem and Tri-Previfem. Essentially, there was an issue at the packaging plant that may have messed with the effectiveness of the monthly pill packs.
Even if you were not on any of the recalled pills, this may reasonably have shaken some of your confidence in this method of birth control. I spoke with Dr. Jane Minkin, OB/GYN and Clinical Professor of Obstetrics at Yale University School of Medicine and First Response brand spokesperson, about the recall and what women should do to protect themselves.
- Dr. Minkin says that, first and foremost, if you have been taking any of the birth control pills included in the recall, stop using the recalled pills immediately and seek a back-up method, such as condoms and spermicide. The combination of condoms and spermicide provides 98% protection when used correctly.
- Talk to your pharmacist. Not only will you be able to get to a pharmacist quicker, but they may have a better knowledge than your gyno on a different generic that will suit your needs. Be sure to let your doctor know that you have changed prescriptions.
- Unless you are in a mutually monogamous relationship, you should continue to use condoms. Although the birth control pill aids in preventing pregnancy, it does not protect you from STDs. If you are a single woman, it is not entirely necessary for you to be on the birth control pill. Although there are medical and lifestyle reasons for a single woman to be on the birth control pill, such as irregular periods, you can still receive very high accuracy of protection through the use of condoms and spermicide. As always, consider your risk level of becoming pregnant.
- Early signs of pregnancy include queasiness, fatigue and breast tenderness. If you suspect that you are pregnant, or you are just nervous after this recall, First Response pregnancy tests can be taken as early as 6 days BEFORE your missed period. If you still think that you are pregnant, you can ask your doctor to administer a blood pregnancy test.
- The recall is an issue with the packaging, rather than the actual pill. Although this type of news may shake your confidence, Dr. Minkin assures that this type of recall is not a common event.
If you have any concerns, please have a conversation with your gynecologist. At the very least, it's good to be open with your doctor and express any issues/questions/concerns that pop into your head. They had to go through medical school...nothing shocks them at this point. We all just want you to be happy, healthy and informed.
Take care, ladies!