Dealing with the Anxiety of Pfizer’s Birth Control Pill Recall: A Flowchart

On February 1, Pfizer — the world’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer — announced a recall involving a million packages of birth control pills. According to the company, some pills were packaged improperly in terms of the sequence they should be taken in; some pills contained excessive amounts of the active ingredients; and in some cases, some pills did not contain enough active ingredients. Statistically, few, if any, unplanned pregnancies will occur because of these circumstances.

However, we here at Abnormal Use expect that this announcement may cause some readers to experience anxiety. A lot of anxiety. Some folks may even be tempted to freak out. Well, don’t. You can spend your time and energy worrying about hypotheticals, sure; or you can refer to our handy flowchart — which we made just for you — to help you evaluate your risk and work through your anxiety. Why would we do this for you, you ask? It’s because we love you, our faithful readers. So, without further ado, let’s move to the chart:

Step 1: Determine if this is your pill. The pills in question are: (1) Lo/Orval-28 tablets; and (2) its generic equivalent, Norgestrel and Ehtinyl Estradiol tablets. The affected packages have expiration dates between July 31, 2013 and March 31, 2014.

Is this your pill?

A. If No, great. Go on about your life.

B. If Yes, proceed to Step 2.

Step 2: In the past month, have you actually relied on your pill for contraceptive purposes?

A. If No, immediately stop reading this blog. Go to www.match.com. Create a profile and shamelessly lie about yourself. Hurry now! Time’s a-wastin’.

B. If Yes, are you being honest?

1. If No, please refer back to Step 2A. And stop lying. It’s not helping your game.

2. If Yes, proceed to Step 3.

Step 3: In theory, are you at least comfortable with the thought of being pregnant?

A. If Yes, proceed to Step 5B & C.

B. If No, proceed to Step 4.

Step 4: Freak out. Seriously, freak out. I mean, you’re in no position right now to be a parent. You’ve got stuff you want to do. You’re not responsible enough for a kid. You can barely take care of yourself! How are you going to take care of a kid? Oh man, oh man, oh man. What are you going to do? Unghhh gahhh!

[Continue to work yourself up until you’re making a scene, then proceed to Step 5.]

Step 5: Alright, shut up. Shut. Up. Pull yourself together. You’re embarrassing yourself. Geez. Ok? Ok? Alright. Everything’s going to be fine. Ok? Here’s what you do:

A. Start trying to make a deal with God. It can’t hurt.

B. Go see your doctor and get an exam.

C. If you can’t get in to see your doctor, take an at-home pregnancy test.

Step 6: If you get an exam or pregnancy test, and—

A. You’re pregnant, and—

1. You’re comfortable with being pregnant, CONGRATULATIONS!!! We’re so happy for you!

[Provided you were not knowingly committing pill fraud against your significant other. That is no laughing matter. Shame on you.]

2. You’re not comfortable with being pregnant, freak out again. Seriously, it’s ok. This is a big life change. But once you’ve freaked out for a little while, collect yourself and make the best of the situation. There’s a great deal of support and assistance out there for folks just like you. You’re not alone.

B. You’re not pregnant, and—

1. You were comfortable with the idea of being pregnant, maybe it’s time to go off contraceptives . . . ?

[Provided you do not commit pill fraud against your significant other. Seriously. No laughing matter.]

2. You did not want to be pregnant, CONGRATULATIONS!!! Now, go celebrate. Responsibly. We’re going to be really disappointed if you’re back looking at this flowchart come Monday morning.

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