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Prescription Pill Mix Up Prompts FDA To Recall Popular OTC Meds

6:05 PM, Jan 9, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- Novartis is pulling bottles of Excedrin off store shelves.

It's part of a voluntary recall that also includes Bufferin, Gas-X and NoDoz caffeine caplets.

The Swiss drug maker says the OTC pills may contain stray tablets from their other products.

"First of all, you need to definitely be concerned about the side effects if the drugs were mixed. So, some of the drugs that could have mixed can cause a lot more drowsiness than just your Excedrin or Bufferin," says Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Michael O'Neal.

Major manufacturing issues at a Nebraska Novartis facility prompted the recall.

It was shut down last month after Food and Drug Adminstration inspectors found problems.

Novartis decided to pull the products after receiving complaints of mislabeled bottles along with broken and chipped pills.

The FDA says some of the Novartis over-the-counter pills may also have been packaged with powerful prescription painkillers.

Endo Pharmaceuticals sells the drugs as Percocet, Endocet, Opana and Zydone.

But the federal agency is not recalling those painkillers because the risk of stray pills is low, and so many patients rely on those medications.

"They don't want to create any kind of irrational fear," Michael O'Neal says.

Experts say you should look at your medications closely, and if you do have questions contact your pharmacist immediately.

The bottles of Excedrin and NoDoz have expiration dates of December 20, 2014 or earlier. 

The expiration dates on the Bufferin and Gas-X are December 20, 2013 or before.

FDA Novartis OTC Recall

Novartis says if you have this recalled product, do not use it but contact the company at 1-888-477-2403, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m and 8 p.m. EST.

Patients can call Endo Pharmaceuticals' call center at 1-800-462-3636.

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