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May 30th, 2012
01:51 PM ET

FDA issues warning about counterfeit Adderall purchased online

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about counterfeit generic Adderall tablets being sold on the Internet. Adderall is approved by the FDA to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy.

The FDA became aware of the problem when Teva Pharmaceutical Industries reported that a consumer alerted them about purchasing a fake version of Teva’s Adderall 30-milligram tablets from an illegal Internet pharmaceutical site.

The bogus version was discovered “by a consumer, who noticed misspellings on on the fake product packaging,” according to Denise Bradley, Teva Pharmacautical’s vice president of corporate communications. Bradley said two incidents have been reported to the FDA, and Teva Pharmaceuticals continues to work with the FDA on the investigation.

Teva’s authentic 30mg Adderall tablets are round, orange/peach in color and are imprinted with “dp” on one side and 30 on the other side of the tablet.  The tablets are packaged in bottles.  The active ingredients in authentic Adderall tablets are dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate and amphetamine sulfate. An analysis of the counterfeit tablets revealed they contained tramadol and acetaminophen, both used to treat acute pain, and they were in blister packages.

Both instances occurred when consumers tried to purchase Adderall from illegal websites rather than using legitimate distribution channels. The FDA noted that “consumers should be extra cautious when buying their medicines from online sources. Rogue websites and distributors may especially target medicines in short supply for counterfeiting.” Adderall is currently on the FDA drug shortage list because of active pharmaceutical ingredient supply issues.

“It is very important that patients purchase product through legitimate channels,” Bradley said. “Websites that do not require prescriptions are not reputable.”

The FDA website offers tips for consumers who want to purchase prescription drugs using the Internet. First, make sure that the site requires a prescription and has a pharmacist available to answer questions. Consumers should only buy prescription medications from licensed pharmacies located in the United States. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy  has information about legitimate U.S. online pharmacies, and provides information about licensing and certification for online pharmacies. Consumers should never provide personal data, such as credit card numbers, unless they are sure an online site is legitimate and will protect their information.

The FDA advises consumers who believe they have a counterfeit version of Teva’s Adderall 30mg tablets not to take the product, and to consult their health care professional about other treatment options. They should also contact the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations at 800-551-3989 or http://www.fda.gov/OCI.


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.