Published Online: Sunday, April 1, 2007

The FDA has uncovered a new Internet drug nightmare—the specter of patients being endangered by receiving powerful antipsychotic medication in place of the prescription drugs that they ordered online.

According to the FDA officials, Americans who placed orders over the Internet for drugs such as zolpidem tartrate (Ambien), alprazolam (Xanax), escitalopram oxalate (Lexapro), and lorazepam (Ativan) actually received a product that appears to contain haloperidol, a drug to treat schizophrenia that can cause muscle stiffness and spasms, agitation, and sedation.

"Reports show several consumers in the United States have sought emergency medical treatment for symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, muscle spasms, and muscle stiffness after ingesting the suspect product," reported the FDA.

An investigation into the origin of the bogus drugs is ongoing, but FDA officials confirmed that the packages were postmarked in Greece.

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