May 29, 2012 at 6:30 PM ET
Federal health officials are warning consumers and medical providers about fake versions of the ADHD drug Adderall being sold on the Internet.
The counterfeit 30-milligram tablets contain the wrong active ingredients, according to preliminary laboratory tests by the federal Food and Drug Administration. Instead of containing the four active ingredients in prescription Adderall, the fake tablets contain only tramadol and acetaminophen, medications used to treat acute pain.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the manufacturer of Adderall, which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy, contacted the FDA after a consumer reported buying the counterfeit drugs online. Authentic Adderall is a controlled substance that requires special dispensing controls for pharmacists.
The counterfeit drugs are round, white and do not have any type of markings, such as letters and numbers. Authentic Adderall 30-milligram tablets are round, orange or peach and scored, with “dp” embossed on one side and “30” on the other side of the tablet. The Teva products are packaged only in a 100-count bottle with National Drug Code 0555-0768-02 listed.
In addition, the fake drugs are sold in blister packs and they have misspellings on the packaging, FDA officials said.
Adderall and other ADHD medications have been in short supply and listed on the FDA’s drug shortage list for more than a year. The authentic drug contains four ingredients: dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate and amphetamine sulfate. The FDA and drugmakers have blamed problems with the supply of the active pharmaceutical ingredients for the dearth of the product. Teva continues to ship the drug as it becomes available.
It’s possible the shortages have prompted consumers to seek alternative sources for the drugs. The FDA urged extra caution buying drugs online.
"The counterfeit versions of Adderall should be considered unsafe, ineffective and potentially harmful," FDA officials said in a statement.