WebMD Health News
Louise Chang, MD
April 6, 2007 -- The FDA has ordered several brands of prescription nausea
and vomiting medication off the U.S. market, saying the drugs had not received
Regulators said roughly a dozen manufacturers and distributors have until
May 9 to cease sales of rectal suppositories containing the drug. The move does
not affect several trimethobenzamide-containing oral drugs and injection drugs
also used for nausea and vomiting.
About 2 million suppositories containing trimethobenzamide were sold last
year, according to FDA.
The ban affects widely distributed brands including Tigan, Tegamide,
Trimethobenz, and Trimazide.
Patients taking any of those brands should talk with their doctors, says
Jason Woo, MD, associate director of scientific and medical affairs in the
FDA’s Office of Compliance. Officials said they had no safety concerns
but that manufacturers had not shown substantial evidence that
trimethobenzamide is effective in suppository form.
“[Patients] should discuss the alternatives. There are approved suppository
products that are on the market,” he says.
Trimethobenzamide is one of hundreds of drugs circulating in the U.S.
despite never gaining FDA approval. A 1962 law forcing companies to prove a
drug’s effectiveness before selling it exempted products on the market before
The FDA first determined in 1979 that companies never proved
trimethobenzamide suppositories are effective. But in June 2006, the agency
began a crackdown on unapproved drugs.
Deborah M. Autor, director of the FDA’s Office of Compliance, acknowledged
that trimethobenzamide has remained unhindered for a long time.
“I think there are probably several hundred unapproved prescription
drugs out there,” Autor says. “We think it’s important to get the word out to
Any company wishing to continue selling trimethobenzamide suppository after
May 9 must go through the FDA’s full approval process, says Michael Levy,
director of the agency’s New Drugs and Labeling Compliance division.
Those that don’t “will then be subject to immediate enforcement action such
as seizure and injunction,” he says.
SOURCES: Jason Woo, MD,
associate director of scientific and medical affairs, Office of Compliance,
FDA. Deborah M. Autor, director, Office of Compliance, FDA. Michael Levy,
director, New Drugs and Labeling Compliance division, FDA.
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