Excedrin Recall Forces Migraine Patients To Pay Up Or Switch
July 15, 2012

Excedrin Recall Forces Migraine Patients To Pay Up Or Switch

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Six months after Excedrin was pulled from store shelves as part of a recall, migraine patients face a difficult dilemma -- try to find an alternative and nearly-as-effective method of treatment, or pay exorbitant prices online for a product that they know can help alleviate the pain caused by their severe headaches.

According to Kim Carollo of ABC News, Excedrin was pulled on January 8 -- along with the stimulant No-Doz, the oral anti-foaming and bloating relief drug Gas-X, and the aspirin product Bufferin -- by its manufacturer, Novartis.

"Six months later, store shelves are still Excedrin-free," Carollo said. "The company plans to restart production on a 'line-by-line, product-by-product basis' to assure quality, and hopes to start restocking some products in the second half of the year“¦ There is no word yet on which of the recalled products will be manufactured first."

"We are working hard to return products to store shelves as soon as possible. Novartis Consumer Health will restart production on a line-by-line, product-by-product basis to ensure control and adherence to our high standard of quality and expects to begin shipments of a limited portfolio of products in the second half of the year," the company recently said in a statement, according to Fox News reports.

Excedrin Migraine is a combination of 250mg of aspirin, 250mg of acetaminophen, and 65mg of caffeine, Michael Clancy of The Arizona Republic said, and while the product is currently not available on store shelves, it can be purchased online -- for a price. Clancy said that a package of 50 two-tablet packs of the medication, which cost approximately $8 prior to the recall, was going for nearly $250 at e-commerce giant Amazon.com as of Friday.

Those unwilling to pay such a premium for migraine relief have been exploring other options -- sometimes with little success. One individual, Erin Terjesen, told Carollo that she had tried a generic version on the recommendation of her pharmacist, but she felt ill after taking it and was uncertain if it was due to the drug itself or if it was a symptom of the migraine that was left untreated.

"She's tried prescription medications that also don't work," Carollo said. "She does still take the generic brand, keeps caffeinated soda on hand and also tries nonmedical remedies such as keeping her feet elevated and using a wet towel over her eyes and head, but nothing works as well as Excedrin Migraine did."

"And others feel the same. Many migraine sufferers swear by their Excedrin Migraine. Some openly pine for it on Twitter and Facebook. Others are turning to eBay to scoop up whatever stock is available at hugely inflated prices. One recent auction of 50 tablets had a high bid of $60. Another seller is offering a dispenser of 100 tablets for $150," the ABC News reporter added.

Dr. David Dodick of the Mayo Clinic Arizona told Clancy that the individual medications that comprise Excedrin Migraine should be just as effective taken individually, and that Excedrin "has never been proven to be better than separate pills with the same medications and dosages."

Dr. Alex Bigham, who runs a pair of Arizona-based pain-management clinics, disagreed, saying that there was "something about how they put it together than makes it different" than a combination of its component medicine or generic equivalents.

He said that multiple patients have told him that nothing but Excedrin Migraine effectively provides relief for them, but with no sign that the medicine will be returning to store shelves any time soon, those individuals will likely be faced with some difficult decisions in the days and weeks ahead -- if they haven't had to face them already.