FDA Alerts Consumers to Unsafe, Misrepresented Drugs Purchased Over the Internet
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 16, 2007
Media Inquiries: Cathy McDermott, 301-827-6242
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has
become aware that a number of Americans who
placed orders for specific drug products over
the Internet (Ambien, Xanax, Lexapro, and
Ativan), instead received a product that,
according to preliminary analysis, contains
haloperidol, a powerful anti-psychotic drug.
Reports show several consumers in the
United States have sought emergency medical
treatment for symptoms such as difficulty in
breathing, muscle spasms and muscle stiffness
after ingesting the suspect product.
Haloperidol can cause muscle stiffness and
spasms, agitation, and sedation.
Therefore, the agency is reissuing its
warning to consumers about the possible
dangers of buying prescription drugs online.
FDA urges consumers to review the FDA Web
site for information before buying medication
over the Internet.
FDA laboratory analysis of the
misrepresented tablets is ongoing, but
preliminary analysis indicates they contain
haloperidol, the active ingredient in a
prescription drug used primarily to treat
schizophrenia. FDA learned about these
mislabeled and potentially dangerous products
after their recipients complained to a U.S.
The origin of these tablets is unknown but
the packages were postmarked in Greece.
Photographs of the tablets in question and
the shipping packages can be seen at http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/news/photos/haloperidol.html.
If the tablets received from an Internet
seller resemble those in the photos and
haloperidol was not specifically ordered, do
not take these tablets. Instead, consumers
should notify their health care provider and
report the suspected products to FDA by
submitting a product quality problem report
Although the involved consumers have named
several Internet Web sites where the products
were purchased, identifying the vendors is
difficult because of the deceptive practices
of many commercial outlets on the Internet.
FDA is investigating this illicit trade and
plans to release appropriate information when
it is available.
Taking medication that contains an active
ingredient other than what was prescribed by
a qualified health care professional is
generally unsafe. FDA continuously warns U.S.
consumers of the possible dangers of buying
prescription drugs online and urges them to
review the FDA Web site for additional
information prior to making purchases of
medication over the Internet (http://www.fda.gov/buyonline/).
About The SafeMeds Alert System
The SafeMeds Alert System is a counterfeit alert
distribution service of the the Partnership for Safe
Medicines--a group of
organizations and individuals that have policies,
procedures, or programs to protect consumers from
counterfeit or contraband medicines.