FDA warns of pain med mix-up

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning healthcare professionals and patients about a potential mix-up between prescription pain drugs and over-the-counter medications.

Manufacturing problems at a Novartis manufacturing plant in Nebraska resulted in the possibility that tablets from one product type may have been carried over into packaging of another product, according to the FDA warning. This could result in a stray pill of one medicine ending up in the bottle of another product, the FDA said.

The opioid drugs are sold by Endo Pharmaceuticals as Percocet, Endocet, Opana, and Zydone.

The product mix-ups were detected by pharmacists, and no patients have been affected, Endo said.

"We are not aware of any patient having experienced a confirmed product mix-up, and there have been no adverse events attributable to a product mix-up," according to a letter sent to healthcare professionals. "We believe the likelihood of product mix-up reaching a patient is remote."

The FDA is not recalling the painkillers because they are essential medications for many patients and the risks of stray pills are low.

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