Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec, and the McNeil Labs Recall

Tylenol,  one brand of Acetaminophen
Motrin, one brand of Ibuprofen
Zyrtec, one brand of Cetirizine
Benadryl, one brand of diphenhydramine
and the McNeil Labs Recall

What to Do?

In the spring of 2010, McNeil Labs took all its pediatric formats
of the drugs tylenol, motrin, benadryl, and zyrtec off the market.

Why did they do this, what is the risk to your children, and what should
you do?

Why did they do this?
The manufacturer, McNeil, found that the number of milligrams
in their tablets, syrups, and capsules was not exactly as it should be.
The manufacturer did not find anything toxic or harmful
in these products.
And so McNeil recalled these products to be safe, not because any
harm was imminent.
Here is their link:

What is your risk?
The risk in giving the recalled lots of benadryl, tylenol, motrin, or
zyrtec is limited to a dosage error.  We do not know the size of the
dosing error, but clearly one pill or teaspoon of any of these products
cannot cause harm.
Be aware that the problem is limited entirely to these brand names.
So there is no problem beyond the side effects of the drugs themselves
in taking diphenhydramine, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or cetirizine made by
someone else than McNeil Labs.

What should you do?

  1. Throw away any Benadryl, Tylenol, Motrin, and Zyrtec you have.
  2. Do not buy any Benadryl, Tylenol, Motrin, and Zyrtec until your pharmacist says it is OK to do so.
  3. Not to worry if your child has taken Benadryl, Tylenol, Motrin, and Zyrtec recently.  The problem is actually a minor dosage discrepancy that should cause no harm.  So if your child took these drugs, they will be fine, but no reason continue giving these brands at this time.
  4. Rite-Aide, CVS, Walgreen's, Walmart, Target, etc. do not make any drugs.  So their generic brands may also be made by McNeil Labs.  Do not buy diphenhydramine, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or cetirizine, unless you know that the private label did not buy it from McNeil Labs.
  5. Diphenhydramine, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or cetirizine are perfectly safe to use if not made by McNeil Labs.  For example, Advil is a type of ibuprofen not made by McNeil Labs.  All these medications are available from other manufacturers, you just have to be sure it is not made by McNeil Labs, until your pharmacist can verify that the McNeil Lab products of these drugs are once again OK.
Bottom Line 

  • McNeil Labs has found an error in the dosage of 4 pediatric drugs:  Benadryl (a brand of diphenhydramine), Tylenol (a brand of acetaminophen), Motrin  (a brand of ibuprofen), and Zyrtec  (a brand of cetirizine).
  • The error is a minor one of dose size.
  • Even so, you should toss all your Benadryl, Tylenol, Motrin, and Zyrtec
  • You should not buy Benadryl, Tylenol, Motrin, and Zyrtec until your pharmacist can be sure the lots on the shelf are reliable.
  • Until then, you can purchase diphenhydramine, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or cetirizine, as long as they are made by someone other than McNeil Labs.
Dr. Lavin

*Disclaimer* The comments contained in this electronic source of information do not constitute and are not designed to imply that they constitute any form of individual medical advice. The information provided is purely for informational purposes only and not relevant to any person's particular medical condition or situation. If you have any medical concerns about yourself or your family please contact your physician immediately. In order to provide our patients the best uninfluenced information that science has to offer,we do not accept samples of drugs, advertising tchotchkes, money, food, or any item from outside vendors.

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