Pfizer Effexor Recall Scare


Pfizer Inc., a New York City, New York leading pharmaceutical company, has recently issued a nationwide recall of their antidepressant, Effexor. According to John Kell of the Wall Street Journal, the drug that helps treat “major depressive disorder, general anxiety, social anxiety and panic disorder” has been taken off shelves because of an accidental oversight of cross contamination with the heart drug, Tikosyn.

As of Thursday, March 6, a report from a pharmacist cited that the antidepressant contained Tikosyn, a heart medication used to treat heart arrhythmia. Tikosyn, also known as dofetilide, is a heart medication produced by Pfizer. One 0.25 milligram capsule was found in a bottle of Effexor. It was unknowingly packaged in on the same line with Effexor.

Some side effects of Effexor often include loss of appetite, anxiety, insomnia, drowsiness, and nausea. Tikosyn’s side effects are, but not limited to, headaches, chest pains, nausea, and backaches. Tikosyn mixed with the Effexor ingredient venlafaxine can lead to some serious, even grave consequences, such as developing irregular heartbeats or death. WebMd’s article titled Pfizer Recalls Effexor Antidepressant, says that not all drug lots were recalled or contaminated, but Pfizer did so as a precaution to ensure safety for those taking the medicine.

Medical Xpress’s website says that three lots of the antidepressant were recalled, including one generic version. The drug lots being one lot of 30-count 150-milligram capsules, one lot of 90-count 150-milligram capsules, and one lot of Greenstone 90-count 150-milligram capsules. The drug lot numbers and expiration date for the two are V130142 and V130140 and October 2015. The generic version has a drug lot number of V130014 with an expiration date for August 2015.

CNBC reported a similar number of drug lots, but that generic versions are unaffected by this.  CNBC also cites that roughly 105,450 bottles were recalled and 65,800 were distributed to pharmacies across the U.S.

According to the Food and Drug Administration website, they’ve ordered a recall of the antidepressants that have been sent to “wholesalers, distributors, certain government agencies, patient assistance programs and retailers, such as pharmacies and hospitals.” Anyone selling Effexor should stop distributing them altogether and return them to Stericycle Inc. Stericycle Inc.can be contacted at 1-888-345-04811-888-345-0481, so Effexor can be safely returned to them.

Although so far there have been no incidents of anyone having suffered adverse side effects like dizziness, faintness, irregular or fast heartbeats from taking Effexor, physicians, pharmacies, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals alike have been urged to notify those who have been sold Effexor. Patients who have questions should contact Pfizer Medical Information at 1-800-438-19851-800-438-1985, return the medicine if they’re using it, or stop taking it immediately. The Food and Drug Administration can be contacted through a number of ways. One way is through their website, where an online form can be downloaded, sent in by mail, sent by email as an attachment, or faxed. Or, a shorter way may be by copying and pasting their link to fill out a report.

By Arika Elizenberry




Medical Express

The Wall Street Journal

U.S. Food and Drug Administration