The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned health care professionals and consumers that a counterfeit version of Teva’s Adderall is being sold online. Adderall is an extremely popular stimulant which has been in short supply since at least last year “due to active pharmaceutical ingredient supply issues,” the FDA explains.
The news release explains that “[r]ogue websites and distributors may especially target medicines in short supply for counterfeiting.” However, counterfeit online medication sales have been an increasingly serious issue for many popular drugs in the last few years as consumers go online to find cheaper ways to fill their prescriptions. Web users are often redirected to deceptive websites made to look legitimate without ever knowing they have accessed a non-reputable medication provider.
Adderall, a prescription medication classified as a controlled substance, is approved for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Reuters reports that the drug has soared in popularity recently, with a 13.4 percent increase in prescriptions written for it from 2009 to 2010.
The reason the FDA tightly regulates the drug’s active ingredients to manufacturers is to prevent misuse. Adderall is popular with students who use it to improve focus during exams.
In preliminary tests, the FDA found this counterfeit version of Adderall lacks the correct active ingredients of the real medication, making it both ineffective and potentially dangerous. The true medication contains four active ingredients-dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and amphetamine sulfatehese.
However, the counterfeit pills some consumers received contain the acute pain medicines tramadol and acetaminophen instead. Furthermore, the counterfeit pills are white instead of orange or peach in color and lack the “dp” embossing and “30” on the sides. The fake pills are free of any markings or writing.
The authentic pills are round and come in 100-count bottles with the National Drug Code (NDC) 0555-0768-02 listed, while the counterfeit pills come in foil packages with some misspellings on their packaging. The FDA notes that the following misspellings have been found on the counterfeit packaging:
Teva, Adderall’s manufacturer, said they notified the FDA of this counterfeit concern after a consumer came forward who noticed these misspellings after purchasing the drug online. At this point, the FDA is uncertain how many consumers may have purchased these counterfeit versions, or which websites may be involved in their sale.