You pretty much know what to expect when you head to the pharmacy, whether it’s to pick up a prescription or some much needed over-the-counter (OTC) relief. But what you don’t expect is to end up with meds that are part of a major recall, potentially putting you or your loved ones in danger. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened with one popular variety of medication sold at CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens, among other drugstores. Read on to find out what meds are now subject to an expanded recall, and why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says you shouldn’t take them.
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Recalls are more common than you might think, and both the FDA and U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) work to issue warnings and keep the public in the know. On June 29, the FDA announced that Bryant Ranch Prepack Inc. issued a voluntary recall of Morphine Sulfate 30 mg Extended-Release tablets and Morphine Sulfate 60 mg Extended-Release tablets due to a label mix-up.
The CPSC also issued three different recall announcements on June 16 for acetaminophen, more commonly known by the brand name Tylenol, due to a lack of child-resistant packaging. Two varieties of Kroger brand acetaminophen, manufactured by Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries and Aurohealth, were affected, as was a Walgreens store-brand acetaminophen, also manufactured by Aurohealth.
Now, the FDA has issued a recall announcement for a medication that has already led to three serious adverse reactions.
On July 25, Smyrna, Tennessee-based Vi-Jon, LLC announced an expansion of its voluntary recall of Magnesium Citrate Saline Laxative Oral Solution to include 63 additional products “within expiry to the consumer level.”
The recall now includes all flavors and lots of the medication, namely Cherry Flavor and Grape Flavor, packaged in 10-fluid ounce bottles. The initial recall was limited to one lot of CVS Magnesium Citrate Saline Laxative Oral Solution Lemon Flavor, per the original June 21 announcement, which was then expanded on July 14 to include all lots of the lemon-flavored product sold at other retailers.
According to the July 25 announcement, the grape-, lemon-, and cherry-flavored products were available for purchase at Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS stores nationwide, as well as grocery stores such as Walmart, Publix, Kroger, and Harris Teeter, among others. Products were also distributed to wholesale outlets, and Vi-Jon stated the company is “continuing their investigation into the cause of the problem.”
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The laxative product is taken “for relief of constipation (irregularity),” generally leading to a bowel movement within 30 minutes to six hours, the recall announcement stated. But the products are now being recalled after third-party microbial testing found presence of Gluconacetobacter liquefaciens bacteria.
To date, Vi-Jon has received three reports of serious adverse reactions that could be related to the recall, having increased from one report noted in the July 14 announcement.
The bacteria itself has been described as a “plant pathogen,” according to a 2020 case study of a patient with advanced liver cirrhosis also infected with “Gluconacetobacter species.” According to the case report, there has only been one other case of human infection that was “associated with severe immunodeficiency.”
The FDA notes that immunocompromised patients should be wary of the recalled meds, as they “may be at increased risk for invasive infections caused by Glucanacetobacter liquefaciens that could lead to serious, life-threatening adverse health consequences.”
If you bought these laxatives, you may be contacted by Vi-Jon via email or phone, and the company will then provide information for how to return or destroy the product. But take it upon yourself to check your medicine cabinet immediately, as the FDA instructs consumers to stop using recalled products and return any remaining product to your place of purchase.
If you’ve experienced any adverse effects in relation to this product, the FDA instructs you to reach out to your doctor or healthcare provider. For recall-related questions, you can email Vi-Jon at [email protected] Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Central Time.