A batch of popular painkiller medication Endone has been pulled from shelves after a different medication – which is four times the strength – was found inside one packet, sparking fears of potential overdoses across Australia.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) confirmed on Tuesday that a single pack of Endone 5mg tablets in South Australia was found to contain a blister sheet of much stronger Anamorph 30mg tablets.
The discovery triggered a product defect correction for the affected batch, carried out in collaboration with the drug’s manufacturer Aspen Pharma, which is defined as the repair, modification, adjustment and relabelling of an affected medication.
“While the product names were correctly printed on the back of the blister sheet, the tablets and the blisters are a similar size, shape and colour, which increases the risk of inadvertently taking the wrong medicine,” the TGA said in a statement.
Endone is the brand name of painkillers that contain the active ingredient oxycodone hydrochloride and is available in the form of tablets, liquid, capsules and suppositories. It’s used to treat moderate or severe pain – usually following an injury or surgery – but needs to be prescribed by a health professional because there are various dosages available and the potential for the medication to interact with other drugs, alcohol and even supplements.
Meanwhile, Anamorph contains morphine as an active ingredient and is prescribed to treat severe pain when other medication or measures fail to provide a relief. It’s usually only restricted to short-term administration and has been linked to an array of symptoms ranging from drowsiness, nausea, dry mouth and weakness to more serious side effects including seizures and coma.
While both medications are used to treat pain, Anamorph is much stronger could result in overdose and serious health risks if taken inadvertently.
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“Before taking any tablets from the affected batch of Endone 5mg, patients should visually inspect blister sheets to ensure they contain the correct medicine,” the TGA said.
“As a further precautionary measure, pharmacists are also being asked to visually inspect the contents of packets of Endone 5 mg tablets from the affected batch to ensure they are correct before dispensing.”
The medication impacted by the mix-up is from batch number CW612 with an expiry of November 2020, with the TGA encouraging people not to consume any medication if a blister sheet has Anamorph or anything other than Endone 5mg printed on the back. Incorrect tablets should be returned immediately to your pharmacy and people should contact a health professional immediately if they think they’ve unintentionally consumed the wrong medication.
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