Single batch of Mirvala birth control pills recalled in Canada over placebo concerns

A package of Mirvala 28 birth control pills is pictured in this undated handout photo.

A single lot of Mirvala 28 birth control pills has been recalled in Canada because blister packs may contain green placebo pills in place of white active pills.

According to drug maker Apotex Inc., the affected lot contains packages with UPC 771313225328 and an expiry date of August 2022.

Mirvala 28 packages normally contain 21 white pills, which are the active pills containing hormones, and seven green placebo, or inactive, pills. According to the drug manufacturer, taking the pills in the proper order is important for preventing pregnancy.

"Missing an active pill or taking a placebo in place of an active pill could result in an increased risk of a pregnancy because the pill does not contain any active hormone," Health Canada notes in a recall notice on its website. "It may also cause side effects, including spotting and irregular bleeding."

Health Canada is asking customers who have the affected product to return it to their pharmacy as soon as possible for a replacement. If they cannot get to a pharmacy right away, Health Canada advises that they "take the next active (white) pill in the package that you are due to take, and contact your pharmacist for a replacement as soon as possible.

"Do not miss an active pill or take a placebo in place of an active pill," the government health agency said.

Health Canada says packages that have the correct pills in the correct order do not need to be returned.

More information about the recall can be found here.