Pfizer Recalls More Than 100,000 Bottles of Effexor XR

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Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) is recalling two lots of its antidepressant drug Effexor XR, as well as one lot of the generic version of the drug, after a pharmacist reported that one bottle of Pfizer’s Effexor XR contained one capsule of another drug, Pfizer’s Tikosyn, mixed in with the Effexor capsules.

“Although Pfizer has not received any other such reports, these three lots are being voluntarily recalled as a precaution because they were packaged on the same line,” a Pfizer press release, issued Thursday states.

The three lots of the drug, which is known as venlafaxine in its generic form, total about 104,450 bottles; about 65,800 of those bottles had made it to pharmacies in the U.S. when the recall was issued. The recall composes two 30-count lots of Effexor XR and one 90-count lot of the generic version, which is made by Greenstone LLC, a company owned by Pfizer.

Effexor XR is a prescription antidepressant medication that is used in patients with major depressive disorder, general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.

Tikosyn is a type of antiarrhythmic drug used to treat a fairly common and dangerous irregular heart beat condition known as atrial fibrillation, as well as atrial flutter.

“The use of Tikosyn by an Effexor XR patient, where the contraindications and drug-drug interactions have not been considered by the prescribing physician, could cause serious adverse health consequences that could be fatal,” Pfizer said.

Tikosyn can cause serious side effects, Pfizer warns, “including a type of abnormal heartbeat called Torsade de Pointes, which can lead to death.” The company cautions that if an Effexor patients thinks they may have mistakenly ingested a Tikosyn capsule they should immediately contact their physician or a hospital.

The company is advising pharmacists to “immediately quarantine, discontinue distribution of and return all recalled lots” of the potentially contaminated products, as well as notify any customers to whom they distributed the products prior to the recall.

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