'Rogue' Seroquel found in OTC painkiller packs

We'll leave you with a mystery to mull over the weekend. British regulators sent out a safety alert that warns patients they might find an unexpected remedy in packs of the over-the-counter painkiller Nurofen Plus. It seems that the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency received reports of "rogue Seroquel XL" tablets found in three different batches of Nurofen Plus.

The Seroquel tablets, packaged in clearly labeled blister strips that had been cut down to a smaller size, cropped up in cardboard packages of blister-packed Nurofen Plus. Even though the two drugs look very different, the MHRA said at least two patients had actually taken the Seroquel tablets by mistake, Reuters reports.

Seroquel is an atypical antipsychotic drug made by AstraZeneca ($AZN) and available only by prescription. It's used to treat bipolar depression, mania and schizophrenia. Reckitt Benckiser's Nurofen Plus is a pain reliever containing codeine and ibuprofen.

How the antipsychotic made its way into the Nurofen packs is as yet unexplained. The two products are made at different locations, so MHRA doesn't think manufacturing errors are to blame. "We have some information to suggest possible links between these cases," MHRA said in a statement. "It is possible that these problems are linked to product consolidation and/or erroneous examination of returns. Work is ongoing to obtain more information but the full facts may never be fully established."

- get the MHRA report
- read the Reuters news
- see the story from InPharm
- get more from BBC