If you thought Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Labs division — the folks behind all of these recalled over-the-counter drugs — was the only branch of the company capable of creating stinky meds, you were wrong, as J&J has announced a recall of two lots of its prescription anitconvulsant Topamax for that now-classic “uncharacteristic odor.”
Once again, the culprit involved in the recall is that chemical with the catchy name of 2,4,6 tribromoanisole (let’s just call it TBA), a byproduct of a chemical preservative wood used to make shipping pallets.
According to the FDA, the recall “was initiated after enhanced surveillance and complaint monitoring programs escalated odor-related reports. While not considered to be toxic, TBA can generate an offensive odor and a very small number of patients have reported temporary gastrointestinal symptoms. As it relates to Topamax, there have been no reported serious adverse events caused by the presence of TBA.”
This is a wholesale and retail-level recall, meaning the drug is being pulled from your pharmacists’ shelves and not out of your medicine cabinet.
“While no consumer actions are required, patients taking TOPAMAXÂ® 100mg Tablets who experience an uncharacteristic odor associated with their medication should return the tablets to their pharmacist, and contact their healthcare professional if they have questions,” reads the statement.
Anyone with concerns or questions can call 1-866-536-4398 (Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5pm ET). Additional information about the recall can be found on Topamax.com, RxForSafety.com, and OrthoMcNeilNeurologics.com.