Yesterday, Novartis Pharmaceuticals announced it would be recalling some bottles of Excedrin, NoDoz, Bufferin and Gas-X. Now they've explained why: the bottles could have super-strong painkillers in them instead.

According to USA Today, Novartis is recalling Excedrin and NoDoz bottles with expiration dates before Dec. 20, 2014, and Bufferin and Gas-X bottles with dates before Dec. 20, 2013. The reason: those bottles were manufactured in a Nebraska plant that also makes several strong pain medications, including Opana, Percocet, and Percodan, and an FDA rep says, "it's possible that tablets from one product may have been retained in the packaging machinery, and then may have carried over into the packaging." So basically, bottles of basic over-the-counter medication could have serious painkillers in them. In a masterpiece of understatement, USA Today's Elizabeth Weise explains,

[W]hile a patient expecting a strong opiate who got Excedrin would not experience pain relief, it would not be potentially life-threatening to them. But a person wanting to take No-Doz or Gas-X Prevention who instead took a strong opiate could have a very severe reaction.


I guess if you're into that kind of thing, you could also buy up a whole bunch of NoDoz and pick out the Percocets to abuse or sell. This is illegal and you shouldn't do it, but the manufacturers of Percocet have issued a visual guide that would make it easier. For the rest of us, it's probably best to avoid the affected lots of NoDoz, lest we have an experience very different from the one we paid for.

Why Excedrin, NoDoz bottles are being recalled [USA Today]
Drug company recalls bottles of Excedrin, NoDoz [AP, via USA Today]