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Safety alert: Canada-wide recall for cold and flu medication due to health risks (PHOTOS)

Check your medicine cabinets!

Health Canada is notifying Canadians that a company is recalling all lots of multiple generic cold and flu medications due to possible health risks. 

CellChem Pharmaceuticals Inc. is recalling all lots of several products due to potential health risks, explains a news release. The cold and flu medications were sold in pouches of dissolvable powder and authorized for use in adults and children 12 years of age and older.

Health Canada states that the "company could not demonstrate that products remain safe and of good quality until their expiry date, and multiple lots had inconsistent quantities of active ingredients in the products." Additionally, multiple lots had active ingredients, such as acetaminophen, that were not in the amounts listed on the product label.  

The products are available over-the-counter and sold under various generic store-brand labels at many retailers across Canada.

While taking products with less than the labelled quantity may be less effective, products with higher amounts than what is listed on the label may lead to consumers inadvertently ingesting more active ingredients than the maximum daily dose. 

Products that contain too much acetaminophen could pose serious health risks, such as liver damage.

Signs of taking too much acetaminophen include nausea, vomiting, lethargy, sweating, loss of appetite and pain in the upper part of the abdomen or stomach. Abdominal pain may be the first sign of liver damage and may not be apparent for 24 to 48 hours. 

The risk of taking too much of an active ingredient may also be higher for children and adolescents. 

Health Canada identified these issues during a safety inspection. The recall was first issued in September 2021 and is now being expanded after further investigation by the company. 

At Health Canada's direction, CellChem Pharmaceuticals Inc. has stopped selling and is recalling the affected products.

health-canada-affected-products-december-2021.jpg
Photo via Health Canada

What you should do

  • Stop using the recalled products. Talk to your healthcare provider if you or your child have taken a recalled product 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 CellChem Pharmaceuticals Inc. by calling 1-844-481-8884, or emailing info@cellchempharma.com, if you have questions about the recall.
  • Report any health product-related side effects or complaints to Health Canada.
Find out more information about the recalled products with Health Canada online
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