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Pfizer issues recall of Effexor

various forms of the drug Effexor XR
various forms of the drug Effexor XR

Floridians who are taking the antidepressant venlafaxine (Effexor, Pfizer Inc) are advised to check the batch number on their pill bottles. That’s because the drug company has just issued a nationwide voluntary recall of 3 different lots that may be contaminated with a potentially dangerous heart drug.

Apparently 1 bottle of Effexor XR contained a single capsule of dofetilide (Tikosyn, Pfizer Inc) 0.25 mg, which is a medication used to treat atrial fibrillation/atrial flutter. For anyone who does not have this condition, taking Tikosyn could cause a fatal irregular heartbeat.

Although spokespeople for Pfizer state that the probability of another bottle being contaminated is low, the company is issuing the recall as a precaution. All 3 lots were packaged on the same line.

One is a lot of 30-count Effexor XR (venlafaxine HCI) 150 mg extended-release capsules; one is a lot of 90-count Effexor XR (venlafaxine HCl) 150 mg extended-release capsules; and one is lot of 90-count Greenstone LLC-branded venlafaxine HCl 150 mg extended-release capsules.

The lot numbers are V130142 and V130140, which both expire in October 2015, and Greenstone lot number V130014, which expires in August 2015.

Anyone who thinks they might have ingested a Tikosyn pill that was in their bottle of Effexor/venlafaxine HCl should immediately contact their physician or hospital.

Effexor XR was approved by the FDA in 1997 for the treatment of major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), and panic disorder (PD) with or without agoraphobia.

Some doctors prescribe the drug "off label" for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy, migraine prophylaxis, and menopausal symptoms.

For more information, regarding this recall contact Pfizer Medical Information at 1-800-438-1985 (Monday to Thursday, 9:00 am to 8:00 pm ET, or Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET).

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