Smelly Tylenol Recall Expanded to Include Motrin, Rolaids, Other OTC Meds

A <"">Tylenol recall announced late last year is being expanded again to include other over-the-counter drugs. According to Johnson & Johnson, the drugs, which include products like Tylenol, Motrin and Rolaids, are being recalled because they may be associated with “an unusual moldy, musty, or mildew-like odor” that has been linked with stomach illness in some users.

Last November, Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit recalled 5 lots of Tylenol Arthritis Pain Caplet 100 count bottles, with the distinctive red EZ-OPEN CAP because of reports of the odor, which was associated with nausea, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. That recall was expanded in December to include all lots of the product.

At the time, McNeil said the uncharacteristic smell associated with recalled Tylenol Arthritis Pain Caplets was caused by the presence of trace amounts of a chemical called 2,4,6-tribromoanisole. The source of 2,4,6-tribromoanisole is believed to be the breakdown of a chemical used to treat wooden pallets that transport and store packaging materials. The health effects of this compound have not been well studied, but McNeil said that so far, to date all of the reported adverse reactions have been temporary and non-serious.

Now, McNeil is recalling more products that might be tainted with the same chemical. In addition to pain relievers Motrin and Tylenol, and the Rolaids antacid, the recall also involved the Benadryl allergy drug and St. Joseph’s Aspirin. The recall involves lots in the Americas, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Fiji. A complete list of recalled products is available here, or call 1-888-222-6036 (Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time, and Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time).

Since the December recall, the company said it has now applied broader criteria to identify and remove all product lots that may be affected, even if they have not been the subject of consumer complaints. McNeil also said it was ceasing shipment of products produced using materials shipped on the wood pallets and requiring suppliers to stop using the pallets.

McNeil has not been able to determine how the chemical may have penetrated product packaging.

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