03/09/2018 10:47 EST | Updated 03/09/2018 10:47 EST

Health Canada Warns Women Not To Take Chipped Birth Control Pills

Time to check your packs.

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If you take birth control, you should always check your packs for broken pills before you take them, says Health Canada.

The warning comes after Alysena 21 and Alysena 28 birth control packs were discovered to have chipped pills.

The manufacturer, Apotex, issued a recall for lot LF10133A of Alysena 28 packs in February after receiving complaints of this issue, and on Thursday, Health Canada declared "all lots of both Alysena 21 and Alysena 28 may have chipped pills."

Both prescription drugs are used to prevent pregnancy (and to treat acne, in some cases), but chipped pills "may contain less of the active drug ingredients, which may reduce Alysena's effectiveness in preventing pregnancy," both Health Canada and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada previously reported.

Apotex spokesperson Jordan Berman told CBC News on Thursday that the initial recall was done "out of an abundance of caution before we had all the scientific data."

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Explaining why Health Canada has now issued a warning and not a recall, Berman said, "We now have scientific data from both published studies and internal testing by the manufacturer, which demonstrate that taking pink pills that have a small chip at the edge will not reduce the product's overall effectiveness in preventing pregnancy."

But that doesn't mean women shouldn't be cautious. Those who use Alysena 21 and Alysena 28 birth control packs are now advised to carefully examine their pills for chipped or jagged edges before taking them.

"If you find a chipped pink pill, take the next unchipped pink pill. Do not miss a dose as this may result in pregnancy," Health Canada said.

If birth control pills look unusual, they should be returned to the pharmacy where consumers will be given a new pack.

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Apotex is also addressing the issue on a manufacturing level and will conduct "additional visual inspections," Health Canada reports.

Alysena isn't the only birth control brand known to have had chipped pills. Back in December, Alesse 21 and Alesse 28 received similar complaints of broken pills and pills that appeared smaller than normal.

At the time, Health Canada reported that these issues could potentially affect the medications' effectiveness, however, the pills were not recalled.

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