February 1, 2012

Portland drug stores may be swamped this weekend by parents who are returning bottles of Johnson & Johnson’s Infants’ Tylenol. The company issued a nationwide recall this week when it realized the recent redesign of the bottle is defective. About 574,000 units were in stores or consumers’ medicine cabinets at the time of the recall.

J&J emphasizes that no one has reported an adverse event with regard to the problem. The issue is with the dosing mechanism used by parents, not with the medication itself.

About three months ago, the revamped bottles hit stores, with the manufacturer touting the new design as safer than the old one. Parents soon began reporting problems with the flow restrictor and the syringe used to extract the grape-flavored liquid Tylenol.

To extract the correct dose, the parent had to insert a syringe (without a needle) into the flow restrictor at the top of the bottle. The parent then turns the bottle upside down to withdraw the appropriate dose, the same way nurses and doctors fill syringes with medication. The liquid Tylenol can then be squirted into the infant’s mouth.

What was intended to be an easy way to deliver the correct dose to a baby proved unworkable in many cases. Parents reported having trouble extracting the right amount, and they reported that the syringe’s plunger was falling into the bottle.

Physicians recommend replacing the product with a generic brand of acetaminophen. J&J said that consumers who have units that work should keep them. If the plunger or the flow restrictor has been pushed into the bottle, the manufacturer recommends returning the product for a refund.

J&J has been plagued by recalls over the past couple of years. Infants’ Tylenol is the 25th recall since September 2009. In 1982, Tylenol was the subject of one of the largest recalls in history. The deaths of seven people from tainted Tylenol prompted a recall of more than 31 million bottles of every Tylenol product on the market at the time.

Source: CBSLocal.com, “Company Issues Nationwide Recall Of Infants’ Tylenol,” Feb. 18, 2012


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