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It is time to take a closer look at your medicine cabinet and see if you have any bottles of Triaminic or Theraflu which are a year or more older. Pharmaceutical giant Novartis recently issued a voluntary recall on certain batches of its Triaminic and Theraflu syrup bottles over concerns that the child-resistant bottle caps might be defective. This recall carries special significance for families with small children. There are fears that these caps can be removed by children and can then lead to accidental ingestion and poisoning. As per the Poison Prevention Packaging Act, products with certain substances are required to have child-resistant packaging. Acetaminophen and diphenhydramine, which are present in the syrups, are covered under this Act.

Further Protection Measures

Can a small child reach into the medicine cabinet? This is unlikely but some people may not always remember to put the bottle back into the medicine cabinet. This is why the container needs to be more difficult to open even if the parents have explained to the child that if they take one of these pills, they will be sent to the hospital and will have to receive several needle shots. That should work since most children are frightened of needles. Parents can keep these pills in their car or at their work as well to even decrease the chances further that any child would have access to these pills.

Serious Numbers

The company initiated the recall after receiving reports of a dozen children unscrewing the caps successfully. Four of these had ingested the product and one child needed medical attention. Liver injury or liver failure can be caused if acetaminophen is ingested in large quantities while an excess of diphenhydramine can lead to seizures or cardiac arrhythmias. The effect of an overdose will depend on the child’s weight. Statistics indicate that acetaminophen poisoning affected nearly 40,000 children in the U.S. under the age of five in 2011. Child resistant caps were made mandatory in 1970.

Recall Details                                 

This recall applies to about 2.3 million units or 183 lots of Triaminic Syrups and Theraflu Warming Relief Syrups for coughs, colds, and fevers. About 24 different types of the syrups are affected by this recall. They were all manufactured between May 2010 and December 2011 at a Novartis facility in Nebraska and were sold at food, drug, mass merchandise, and club stores across the nation. Details about the recalled products including the lot numbers and National Drug Codes (NDC) can be found on the company’s website.

Damage Control

Those who have bought the defective products have been asked to return them for a full refund. Novartis has stated that about 97 percent of the inventory has been used, returned, or quarantined. The company had suspended operations at the Nebraska facility in the wake of federal inspections that revealed many quality control issues.

There are no issues with the medicine itself. It is only the packaging that is at fault. The government agency which deals with this is the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has also advised consumers to stop using the product. Other over-the-counter medicines manufactured at the Nebraska facility such as Excedrin, NoDoz Alertness Aid Products, Bufferin, and Gas-X Prevention products were part of an earlier Novartis recall. That voluntary recall was again a precautionary measure due to the possibility of product mix-ups. The presence of different pills or capsules in the same bottle could have led to inconsistent medications and allergic reactions.

Remember, if you or a family member or loved one have been injured by consuming the wrong pills, or any pills for that matter, please contact the Advocates for Justice for a free consultation.

For more information about Robert P. Christensen, please visit or the International Society of Primerus Law Firms.