Manufacturer suggests a backup contraceptive

Pharmacists can recommend options

Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories in Philadelphia recommends other methods of contraception for women using certain lots of its Norplant System (levonorgestrel implants).

The lots have low levonorgestrel-release rates, the company says. The manufacturer says it cannot assure the contraceptive efficacy of Norplant Systems from certain lots, including 3990729, 3990775, 3990776, 3993006, 3003127, 3003166, and 3003355. These lots were distributed Oct. 20, 1999, and bear expiration dates of 2004. Women who had the system implanted prior to Oct. 20, 1999, are not affected. Pharmacists can take the following measures to help patients:

• Direct women who began using Norplant on or after Oct. 20, 1999, to contact their health care provider to see if their Norplant System is from one of the affected lots.

• Patients who are affected should be counseled to use backup contraceptive methods, including barrier or other nonhormonal methods such as condoms, spermicide, a diaphragm, or IUD.

• Direct any questions you or your patients may have to the Norplant System information line at (800) 364-9809.