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Safety alert: Canada-wide recall issued for cold medication

Check your medicine cabinets.

Health Canada is advising Canadians that two lots of a popular cold medication brand are being recalled due to a "labelling error" that could result in consumers taking the caplets at the wrong time of day. 

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare ULC (GSK) is recalling two lots of Advil Cold & Sinus Day/Night Convenience Pack (one lot of 18 caplet boxes and one lot of 36 caplet boxes) due to a labelling error on blister packs, explains a news release. "The foil backing on the blister pack is rotated upside down and misaligned, so the nighttime caplets are labelled as daytime caplets, and some daytime caplets are labelled as nighttime caplets."

Since the blister backs are labelled incorrectly, consumers may take a nighttime caplet when they intend to take a daytime caplet, and vice versa.

Health Canada notes, however, that consumers can tell the tablets apart because they have different shapes and colours. The daytime caplet is beige and has the marking ‘ADVIL COLD & SINUS’ in black ink. The nighttime caplet is orange and has the marking ‘Advil A/S’.

Consumers should ensure they take the appropriate caplet because the nighttime ones contain an antihistamine medicinal ingredient (chlorpheniramine maleate) that can cause drowsiness. This can be dangerous if they are driving a car or operating heavy machinery. 

"It may also cause potentially serious health consequences for those who have taken other sedatives or tranquilizers, consumed alcohol, and the elderly," reads the recall statement. 

The affected products were distributed in Canada starting July 2021 and Health Canada is monitoring the company’s recall and implementation of any necessary corrective and preventive actions.

What you should do

  • Stop using the recalled products. Consult a health care professional if you have used any of these products and have health concerns.
    • Follow municipal or regional guidelines on how to dispose of chemicals and other hazardous waste; or
    • Return the product to your local pharmacy for proper disposal.
  • Contact GSK by calling 1-855-367-7349, or emailing [email protected], if you have questions about the recall.
  • Report any health product-related side effects or complaints to Health Canada.