FDA warning: Fake ADHD drugs sold online

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Conterfeit Adderall label. Courtesy: FDA. May 2012

Conterfeit Adderall label. Courtesy: FDA. May 2012

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DENVER -- They're the drugs millions of parents rely on to keep their children under control, but now a new warning from the Food and Drug Administration about counterfeit ADHD drugs being sold online.

The drug is Adderall, and officials say if there's any doubt about the version you have then you should take it to your local pharmacy to have it tested.

More people are taking Adderall and that has created a shortage of the controlled substance that is highly regulated by the DEA.

There's been a shortage of the active ingredient in Adderall that is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

By selling fake versions of Teva 30 milligram Adderall online and using substitute ingredients “counterfeiters are capitalizing on the shortage,” says Dr. Brian Hemstreet, associate professor with CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

“It creates a great opportunity for counterfeiters to make money off of that shortage because patients may need those drugs they may not have an alternative because this drug is working best for them."

But the knockoffs not only don't treat that illness, but some versions could have deadly consequences.

“But if they're given something like tramadol and acetimetaphine, in this case, and they're allergic to those the spectrum of what can happen if you're allergic is an allergic reaction to death,” says Dr. Rafer Leach with Guardian Urgent Care.

There is an easy way to avoid rogue websites that sell the fake medications.
You can go to the FDA’s website to find a "verified internet pharmacy practice," or VIPP, approved by the National Association Boards of Pharmacy, which applies to any drugs you buy online.

“And if you notice something's different about the medication, you can certainly bring those medications to your local pharmacy and the pharmacists have the ability to identify the medication,” Hemstreet says.

Counterfeit Adderall may be white instead of orange and have no markings on the tablets.
According to Hemstreet, “The patient may not recognize it unless they notice that the effects of the medication are not what they used to be."

Especially don't buy Adderall if it's sold well below normal price, because trying to save a few dollars might cost you a lot more.

You should never buy from an online pharmacy that is not approved by the FDA because you just don't know what ingredients might be in their drugs.

Below are links to legitimate online pharmacies:

Find a VIPPs online pharmacy

FDA.gov: Buying medicines over the Internet

FDA.gov: Counterfeit Adderall press release

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