Consumers are being warned about fake alprazolam which contains other ingredients, and urged only to get the product from pharmacies
NSW Health and the TGA say they are warning people not to buy prescription medications on overseas websites or off the street after the discovery of counterfeit versions of anti-anxiety drugs.
NSW Poisons Information Centre clinical director Professor Andrew Dawson said a number of products have tested positive for etizolam instead of the expected alprazolam, and other drugs with the potential for serious harm have also been detected in the counterfeit products.
“We have seen a doubling in calls about alprazolam to the NSW Poisons Information Centre just in the past two months,” Professor Dawson said.
The counterfeit products are labelled with the brand names “Xanax” or “Mylan” which are not sold through pharmacies in Australia. There are also reports of counterfeit versions of the Australian brand, Kalma 2mg.
“The packaging and tablets are cleverly copied to look like prescription pharmaceutical brands so we are urging people to only buy from registered Australian pharmacies,” warns Professor Dawson.
He urged anybody who has taken a tablet purchased online or from the street and is experiencing side effects, to call Triple Zero immediately or seek urgent medical attention.
NSW Health has notified the TGA, which issued its own safety advisory, noting that the undeclared substances which may be present in the counterfeits include etizolam, cyproheptadine, promethazine, Flubromazepam, amantadine and MMTMP.
It says it does not have information that counterfeits are present in pharmacies “at this time”.
It noted that the counterfeit Kalma 2mg product does not include the manufacturer, Mylan’s logo.