Latest News

Recalled insulin syringes may be mislabeled

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an alert for healthcare professionals and patients that a lot of ReliOn insulin syringes sold at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club’s may be dangerously mislabeled. The manufacturer of the syringes, Tyco Healthcare Group LP, has voluntarily recalled the needles. Diabetes patients who use the recalled syringes may inadvertently receive an overdose of up to 2.5 times the intended dose. Possible complications could include hypoglycemia and other serious side effects and death. The warning is especially urgent for parents or others caring for children with diabetes. The product consists of sterile, single-use, disposable, hypodermic ... Read More

Assisted living employee fired for verbal abuse

Caring and Sharing Home for Adults is home to up to 46 people in need of assistance from others. Like the nearly 50 other assisted living facilities in Newport News, Va., it is inspected by the state’s licensing division at least once a year. In 2008, the facility was inspected nine times – more than half of those were in response to complaints. The complaints were often anonymous and varied between neglect to children living there to spoiled food. But a new complaint about alleged verbal abuse by one employee resulted in action by the facility, according to the Daily ... Read More

Daschle likely to inherit agency rife with issues

President-elect Barack Obama has made no formal announcement as yet, but it appears likely that Sen. Tom Daschle will be appointed Obama’s choice for Health and Human Services secretary, according to The Federal Times. If so, Dashle will inherit a department that oversees the FDA, an agency that is rife with issues. The agency has been the subject of criticism over its handling of the tainted heparin scandal earlier this year in which more than 80 Americans were killed and hundreds more sickened after receiving injections of heparin from China. The FDA, struggling with low staff levels, is gradually hiring ... Read More

Menopause, heart attack symptoms sometimes can be similar

How can you tell if the physical symptoms you are experiencing are from menopause or from a much more serious problem like a heart attack? Dr. Jeff Hersh, a columnist with the Taunton Daily Gazette, recently addressed this question, noting that there are several misconceptions about heart disease in women that first must be understood. The usual symptoms of a heart attack are what he describes as a “crushing chest pain radiating to the arm and/or jaw.” The symptoms often are associated with shortness of breath and sweating. However, he warns, those “typical” symptoms are not so common in women, ... Read More

Generics may be bio-equivalent of brands, but are they as safe?

Clinical tests conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association comparing brand and generic cardiovascular drugs show that generic drugs are bio-equivalent to the drugs they are patterned after. And, the FDA adds, generics are far less expensive than brand-name drugs. However, U.S. News & World Report raises questions about the quality of the generic drugs. First, researchers noted that the evaluations were short term and that many of the studies were supported by the generic drug companies, who have a vested interest in the positive outcome of the results. Furthermore, the story points out that generics are more ... Read More

Have Vytorin’s falling sales finally stabilized?

For a while it seemed as if sales of Merck’s blockbuster anti-cholesterol drug Vytorin would plummet into oblivion. Unfavorable and botched ENHANCE trial results, harrowing SEAS trial results, lawsuits filed on behalf of individuals and government, congressional inquiries, and so on plagued Merck and co-creator Schering-Plough because it looked as if Vytorin was at best a dud and at worst a cancer-inducing danger. Not surprisingly, Merck and Schering-Plough have been taking hits quarter after quarter because of Vytorin’s disastrous performance in clinical trials. Nearly a year ago, Schering-Plough promised to provide regular reports on the performance of its anti-cholesterol market. ... Read More

Family sues county, administrator resigns over nun’s death

Here is an update on a story we reported last month about an investigation into a Rockland County, N.Y., nursing home where a 90-year-old nun was killed when the closet in her room toppled over onto her. According to Lo Hud, New York’s Lower Hudson Valley newspaper, in the wake of the investigation into Summit Park Nursing Care, the patient-services administrator has announced he plans to resign and the maintenance director is taking an early retirement package. The nursing home’s patient-services administrator Aldo Trolani also served as the county’s acting commissioner of hospitals for the Department of Hospitals. The falling ... Read More

Canadian woman with TEN fights for life

Canadian Kim Oake was bitten by a feral cat while working at her job as an animal control officer for the city of St. John’s, Newfoundland. The bite began to swell and become infected, so she received a tetanus shot and a round of antibiotics. Within days, everything changed. Kim started having severe headaches and then target-like blotches sprang up on her skin. The mother of two is now in a coma and on a ventilator, her body wrapped in antibiotic gauze. The severe reaction to the antibiotics has left her without skin on 70 percent of her body. Doctors ... Read More

Tennessee girl, 17, loses battle with TEN

Elizabeth Patton, 17, was a popular and athletic high school student in Brentwood, Tenn. She enjoyed playing basketball and helped lead her Ravenswood High School softball teammates to their first District 11-AAA regular season title last spring. But last week she met an untimely death by a most unexpected and rare autoimmune reaction to medication, according to News Channel 5. Elizabeth had been diagnosed with toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), a severe form of Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) in which the top layer of skin detaches from lower layers of skin all over the body. SJS and TEN is caused by ... Read More

FDA requests better labeling of low molecular weight heparin

The FDA announced this week that it has received information about the Innohep in Renal Insufficiency Study (IRIS) that was stopped in February because of an interim finding of increased all-cause mortality in patients who received Innohep. Innohep contains tinzaparin sodium, a low molecular weight heparin that is given to patients in conjunction with warfarin sodium intravenously to treat blood clots that have occurred deep in the veins of hospitalized patients who may or may not have also experienced the occurrence of blood clots in their lungs (pulmonary embolism). At the time the study was stopped, 350 patients had completed ... Read More