HHP Medication Safety Watch: July 2021


This list contains selected items from the full FDA list of recalls, withdrawals, and alerts for medicines and certain health products. We've provided links to FDA information for each product and its maker. Unless otherwise noted, these actions apply only to the specific brand name of the product listed. Talk to your healthcare provider before stopping or changing any medicines or treatments that they have recommended for you.

Over-the-counter products and medicines

Hand sanitizer recalled because containers look like water bottles

Comment: The maker of this product is recalling one lot because the containers resemble water bottles. This may increase the risk of accidentally drinking it. Hand sanitizers contain alcohol, and drinking it may cause poor coordination, slurred speech, sedation, or even coma and death due to alcohol toxicity. In addition, alcohol can interact with many medicines and can impair driving.

See additional FDA recalls and alerts for more than 250 hand sanitizer products in recent months due to alcohol contamination, inappropriate packaging, bacterial contamination, or other problems.

Sunscreens recalled because of cancer-causing contaminant

Comment: Five brands of aerosol sunscreen products are being recalled by their maker because low levels of benzene were found in some samples. Benzene is considered a carcinogen (a substance that can cause cancer), although the low levels found in these sunscreens would not be expected to cause health problems.

The source of contamination is under investigation. This recall should not discourage people from using other sunscreens, as they help protect users not only from sun damage but also from skin cancer.

Prescription medicines

Some lots of Chantix recalled due to higher than acceptable levels of a cancer-causing contaminant
  • Chantix, certain lots of 0.5 mg and 1 mg tablets and certain Chantix kits containing 0.5 mg/1 mg tablets (maker: Pfizer)

Comment: The maker of the smoking cessation drug Chantix has recalled certain lots of this medicine due to higher than acceptable levels of N-nitroso-varenicline, a type of nitrosamine. Though nitrosamines are found in water and many foods, they may cause cancer if exposure is higher than acceptable levels over the long term.

Read additional issues of HHP Medication Safety Watch


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Sign Up
Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.