Reports of a bad odors have led to a recall of about 52,000 bottles of the thyroid drug Levoxyl, which is likely to create a drug shortage for the rest of the year.
Pfizer announced the Levoxyl recall (PDF) in a letter to healthcare professionals sent last week. The recall came following reports from pharmacists and patients of an uncharacteristic smell emanating from the bottles. The odor is believed to be caused by oxygen-absorbing canisters in 100-count and 1,000-count bottles.
According to the letter, there are not likely to be any health consequences associated with the recalled Levoxyl and patients are advised that they can continue to take the medication. The recall has been issued out of an abundance of caution and following consultations with the FDA, according to Pfizer.
Levoxyl is a prescription drug used for the treatment of hypothyroidism and as a preventative treatment for some types of goiter.
King Pharmaceuticals, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pfizer, will likely not be able to return Levoxyl to the market until 2014, which could result in a shortage for the thyroid drug. However, there are generic levothyroxine sodium pills on the market.
The recall affects all strengths of Levoxyl (levothyroxine sodium) in 100-count and 1,000-count bottles distributed by King Pharmaceuticals. The recall is at the retail level, meaning it is being removed from pharmacies, but patients are not being asked to return their supplies.
Last year, Pfizer issued an Advil gel tab recall that affected more than 650,000 bottles. That recall was also due to a foul odor linked to a processing error.
Levoxyl patients or doctors with questions can call Pfizer Medical Information at (800) 438-1985.