23/03/2012 11:23 GMT | Updated 23/03/2012 11:23 GMT

Co-Codamol Painkillers: Batch Of Mislabelled Over-The-Counter Tablets Too Strong, MHRA Warns

Thousands of packs of an over-the-counter painkiller could have higher-strength tablets that are only available on prescription, a Government health watchdog warned on Friday.

Some packs in a 40,000-strong batch of co-codamol 8mg/500mg strength tablets, manufactured by Wockhardt UK Ltd, have been found to contain the higher strength co-codamol 30mg/500mg product, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said.

The mix-up is believed to be down to a manufacturing error. An investigation is underway.

The MHRA has issued a drug alert to healthcare professionals and Wockhardt UK Ltd is co-ordinating the recall of the affected batch.

Those who have bought blister packets of the popular painkiller can identify the different strengths by checking their markings.

The 8mg/500mg tablets are marked on one side only as "" with the higher strength 30mg/500mg tablets marked on one side as "CCD30" and marked as "CP" on the second side, the agency said.

The batch number is LL11701 with an expiry date of September 2014. The batch was first distributed on 30 December last year. Packs contain 32 tablets.

There are 39,456 packs in the batch, with 38,929 of these having been distributed to pharmacists and wholesalers for onward sale in the UK.

Ian Holloway, MHRA head of defective medicines report centre, said: "If you have a packet of the affected medicine, return it to your pharmacist who will replace it.

"If you think you have taken the wrong strength tablet, and in the unlikely event that you feel unwell, speak to your pharmacist or GP promptly."