Alert over Nurofen Plus in Ireland


The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) has asked pharmacists to check all supplies of Nurofen Plus tablets after some packs in the UK were found to contain anti-psychotic medicines.

The alert comes after reports that some batches of the over-the-counter painkiller contained individual blister packs of an anti-psychotic drug, Seroquel XL 50mg.

“Whilst the UK implicated pack size of Nurofen Plus of 32 tablets is not available for sale on the Irish market and there is no evidence at this time that packs of Nurofen Plus in Ireland are affected, the IMB, as a precautionary measure, has initiated a recall of all packs from Irish wholesalers for checking,” a statement from the board said today.

Pharmacists have been requested to check all packs of Nurofen Plus that are available in pharmacies for the presence of rogue blister strips or patient information leaflets and to immediately report any found to the IMB. All unaffected packs may be sold.

A spokeswoman for Reckitt Benckiser said it is "checking all packs of Nurofen Plus tablets at wholesale level in Ireland to ensure that there are no rogue products in any pack.

“In addition, pharmacists have been requested to check all packs of Nurofen Plus tablets in their pharmacies prior to dispensing the product to patients.

“Patients are advised, as a precautionary measure, to check their packs of Nurofen Plus to make sure that they contain Nurofen Plus blister strips and a Nurofen Plus patient information leaflet."

Strips of Seroquel were initially found in three packets of Nurofen Plus in three branches of Boots in south London.

A further two rogue packets were found yesterday, one containing Seroquel and the other a Pfizer product, the anti-epileptic drug Neurontin.

Reckitt Benckiser said Neurontin had been discovered in one pack of Nurofen Plus at a pharmacy in Northern Ireland.

Nurofen Plus is an over-the-counter tablet containing codeine and is one of the most popular painkiller brands. Seroquel XL, manufactured by AstraZeneca, is a prescription-only anti-psychotic drug used to treat disorders including schizophrenia, mania and bipolar depression.

People who accidentally take Seroquel may experience sleepiness and are advised not to drive or operate any tools or machinery until they know how the tablets have affected them. Side-effects include dizziness, headaches and sleepiness.

Distribution of Nurofen Plus has been halted in the UK and in Ireland. Other Nurofen products are not affected.

Reckitt Benckiser has halted manufacturing and distribution of Nurofen Plus. 

"We will not take any risk regarding the quality or safety of our products," the company said in a statement. "Sabotage is suspected and we are working with the police on a formal investigation to find the person or persons responsible."