Recently, regulators in Great Britain issued a safety alert after finding packets of Nurofen Plus, an over-the-counter painkiller, containing the anti-psychotic prescription drug Seroquel XL instead. After additional packs were found, from other batches, containing both Seroquel XL and Neurontin, an anti-seizure prescription medication, the manufacturer issued a recall of all outstanding unsold packets of Nurofen Plus.
Nurofen Plus contains a combination of codeine and ibuprofen. Its availability in the U.S. varies by state – in some places it requires a prescription, while in others it can be obtained over-the-counter with identification, as with pseudoephedrine.
Seroquel XL, by contrast, is the brand name for the drug Quetiapine, a powerful anti-psychotic with extreme side effects. The drug is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or “off-label” for a host of other psychiatric conditions.
Known side effects include circulatory problems, somnolence, sluggishness, fatigue, dry mouth, sore throat, dizziness, abdominal pain, constipation, upset stomach, orthostatic hypotension, inflammation in the sinuses or pharynx, increased appetite, and weight gain. There is also some data suggesting that Seroquel XL may cause cataracts. Prolonged used can also result in tardive dyskinesia, a neurological condition with no known cure or, in rare cases, neuroleptic malignant syndrome. Neurontin is known to cause a similar array of side effects.
It is still not known how this packaging mix-up occurred. Indeed, the medicines involved look nothing like one another, and all three drugs are manufactured by different companies. There have been a number of suggestions, ranging from manufacturer negligence to deliberate tampering by the company’s opponents, but nothing is yet proven. It is thus unknown whether there might be any legal liability associated with this mishap.
Although the company has recalled all unsold batches, there is as yet no indication as to whether any mispackaged batches were shipped to or sold in the United States. We therefore urge any customers with Nurofen Plus to carefully check all the pills in their package to ensure that the medication is correct. If a mispackaged pill is found, contact the company, and the FDA, immediately
Many physicians have stated that taking a single dose of Seroquel XL would not be dangerous. Our drug injury attorneys are not so sure.
First and foremost, a patient who does not expect the severe drowsiness associated with a first dose of Seroquel XL could get behind the wheel or operate other heavy machinery, leading to fatal or disastrous results. Further, there is the very real possibility of harmful drug interactions.
Seroquel XL, like many anti-psychotics, is thought to lower the seizure threshold in patients, who are thus advised to avoid bupropion and other drugs which do likewise. Similarly, Seroquel XL, when used in combination with alcohol, or when the patient tries to fight the sedative effect of the drug instead of going to sleep, can trigger sleep paralysis, lucid dreaming, hallucinations, and out of body experiences
Mercifully, thus far there have been no reports of injuries or deaths from the packaging problem. Our Chicago injury attorneys hope that this continues, but urge all consumers to be beyond cautious with any recently-purchased packages of Nurofen Plus. Although lawsuits can bring compensation for your injuries, there is no substitute for staying safe.
To speak with an experienced trial attorney with Passen & Powell about an injury caused by a dangerous drug or for some other serious injury matter, call us at (312) 527-4500 or fill out a free case evaluation on our website.