Kurt Niland

5296 posts

Kurt Niland has been a professional editor and writer for 15 years. He is the author of four books and a number of articles for trade journals, newspapers, magazines, and web blogs. He attended New Mexico State University, the University of New Mexico, and Auburn University Montgomery, where he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English. His lifelong interests in geography, anthropology, political science, literature, and religion fuel his writing and inspire him to travel at every opportunity. Originally from Connecticut, Kurt has resided in Montgomery, Alabama since 1991.

One in fifty Trasylol patients dies

A conclusive study of Bayer AG’s aprotinin injection Trasylol uncovered a grim fact: one out of every 50 Trasylol recipients dies. The study was conducted in Canada and involved monitoring the health of 2,331 high-risk heart patients. Known as BART, the study randomly administered one of three drugs to the patients: Trasylol, Cyklokapron (tranexamic acid) and Amicar (aminocaproic acid). BART sought to answer questions about Trasylol’s safety and efficacy, despite the fact that the drug has been in use for over twenty years. Was Trasylol more effective than alternative drugs in controlling bleeding during cardiac surgery? And, how did rates ... Read More

FDA announces withdrawal of remaining Trasylol

The FDA announced today that Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corp. will begin removing all remaining supplies of the drug Trasylol (aprotinin) from warehouses and other medical stock. The decision comes following the preliminary results of a test that showed the drug greatly increased the risk of death. Trasylol is administered to patients undergoing heart surgery to slow bleeding and reduce or eliminate the need for blood transfusions. Beginning immediately, Trasylol will belong to a class of drugs that require a special protocol for use. Patients who are at a high risk for blood loss during coronary artery bypass graft surgery may receive ... Read More

Vytorin scandals evoke mistrust

Is Schering-Plough’s motto, “To Earn Trust, Every Day,” laced with a little irony these days? What about Merck’s maxim “Where patients come first?” Does it evoke feelings of warmth and trust or does it just induce rolling eyeballs? To be completely fair, pharmaceutical companies continually develop vaccines and medicines that improve the quality of life for millions of people throughout the world. Many modern pharmaceuticals also extend and save lives. In the western world, we can’t imagine life without these modern medicines. However, events surrounding the drug Vytorin have cast into doubt the intentions – and the integrity – of ... Read More

Doctors say stay with statins

As news of Vytorin’s lackluster performance in clinical tests circulates throughout the medical community, many prominent physicians are advocating a return to the use of statins to treat high cholesterol. Statins, such as Crestor, Zocor, and Lipitor, lower the liver’s production of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Research shows that statins also reduce cardiac events by 60 percent and strokes by 17 percent. Merck and Schering-Plough teamed up to create Vytorin, a new cholesterol-fighting drug that combined the power of statins with Zetia, a drug that reduces absorption of cholesterol in the intestine. In this way, the battle against cholesterol would occur ... Read More

Trasylol: just one of Bayer’s woes

An article in this week’s Business Week reveals a dualistic Bayer. On one hand, the pharmaceutical giant is “flush with success,” with projected sales just shy of $50 billion and increased dividends for shareholders. On the other hand, Bayer has been racked by a sequence of bad luck that threatens to sully its future fiscal health and innovation. What are the elements at work behind this dichotomy? Trasylol, Bayer’s injectable aprotinin for heart patients, is largely responsible for the gloom that many analysts forecast for Bayer. Approved by the FDA in 1993 for use in controlling blood loss during heart ... Read More

Death by Trasylol: one man’s story

Joseph Randone was a healthy 52-year old family man from Long Island when he underwent heart valve replacement surgery at Stony Brook University Hopsital in New York. The risks were low, according to his surgeon. Joe would likely return home to recover after less than a week in the hospital. Months later, Randone was still in the hospital fighting a losing battle for his life. The problem began during surgery, when Randone was hooked to an IV drip containing Trasylol for four hours. Trasylol is administered to control blood loss during heart surgery. It is one of the most widely ... Read More