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Head injury protocol reduces death rate for patients on blood thinners

Blood thinners, like heparin, are routinely administered or prescribed to patients to help prevent blot clots that can lead to heart attacks or strokes. But if a patient taking blood thinners bumps his head, he is at greater risk for undetected brain bleeds and death, according to Emax Health. Researchers at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, have developed a treatment protocol to quickly and effectively diagnose brain bleeds in patients who are on blood thinners and bump their heads. The study treated 105 patients under the new protocol. As a result, diagnosis of brain bleeds occurred in half the ... Read More

Older Americans may be taking hazardous drug combinations

More than 50 million older Americans – or 91 percent of that population – take at least one medication, and at least 2 million of them are combining their medication with other drugs or supplements that may be hazardous to their health, according to the Associated Press. The findings come from research published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association and funded by the National Institutes of Health and University of Chicago. The study is based on interviews of 3,000 people aged 57 to 85. The research shows that more than half of the older population is ... Read More

Drug makers rush to produce new blood thinners

New blood-thinning medicines are in the works and to offer doctors more options in treatment and prevention of blood clots, according to Bloomberg. Bloomberg reports that at least six companies are working on blood thinners to take advantage of a growing need. According to Datamonitor, a London-based research company, the anticoagulation drug market is expected to reach $20 million by 2012. Blood thinners are routinely given to patients before certain types of surgery and treatments such as kidney dialysis to prevent blood clots from forming. Clots that do not naturally dissolve can travel through the blood stream and end up ... Read More

Tainted heparin may have caused death of infant

An infant may have been among the victims of the tainted heparin scandal earlier this year, according to WorldFocus consultant Peter Eisner, who has reported on the heparin crisis over several months. Eisner reports that Julien, the son of Alex and Ann Oryschak, died Nov. 19, 2007, after becoming ill. The Oryschaks believe that heparin may have lead to their infant son’s untimely death, and they want to share their story in hopes of influencing changes in drug regulations. Last year, heparin was thrust into the spotlight after more than 80 patients who had received the blood thinner died and ... Read More

Quaids get settlement in heparin overdose case

The highly publicized lawsuit between the family of actor Dennis Quaid and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has been settled, according to The Lowell Sun/Associated Press. Documents show that the Quaids have agreed on a $750,000 settlement with the hospital. The Quaid twins nearly died after they were accidentally given 1,000 times the intended dose of the blood thinner heparin shortly after birth. The settlement allows the couple to pursue claims for their children in the future. Heparin is generally used when a patient – adult or infant – receives fluids through a central line to prevent a blood clot from forming, ... Read More

Another lawsuit filed in tainted heparin scandal

Another lawsuit has been filed against the Wisconsin-based heparin manufacturer, Scientific Protein Laboratories and one of its major distributors, Baxter International Inc., claiming the companies allowed contaminated batches of heparin to reach hospitals and medical facilities, where it led to the death of a 59-year-old hemodialysis patient, according to The News-Enterprise. Franke Leon Isom of Webster, Ken., died Dec. 14, 2007, a day after he was given heparin during treatment at Woodland Dialysis Clinic in Elizabethtown. Attorneys argue that Isom received part of the 55,000 gallons of heparin that was contaminated with over-sulfated chondroitin sulfate (OSCS). Earlier this year, a ... Read More

Barton wants answers from FDA about heparin scandal

Rep. Joe Barton, a ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, appears to be fed up with the FDA’s reluctance to provide details of the tainted heparin scandal that first came into public light earlier this year, according to CNN Money. That scandal resulted in the deaths of more than 80 Americans and adverse reactions in hundreds more, and led to an agency recall of lots of the blood thinner manufactured in Baxter International’s Chinese facility. Heparin from another company, APP Pharmaceuticals Inc., wasn’t considered a problem, though in a letter to Congress in October, the FDA said ... Read More

FDA commissioner announces plans to resign next month

The Associated Press reported today that Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach will resign from his post effective Jan. 20, the same day president-elect Barack Obama takes office. Von Eschenbach was appointed by President Bush in 2005 after the agency’s previous commissioner resigned due to ethical issues, the AP reports. While under von Eschenbach’s helm, the FDA has undergone scrutiny by Congress and consumer groups over issues such as the tainted heparin scandal earlier this year. The FDA ordered a recall on batches of the blood thinner heparin made at Baxter International’s Chinese facility after some lots ... Read More

Congressman questions FDA's slow action on heparin seizure

A Texas congressman is questioning why the FDA waited six months to seize lots of contaminated heparin from an Ohio company, according to CNN Money. Earlier this year, the FDA recalled lots of heparin manufactured in a Baxter International Chinese plant after batches were found to have been contaminated with over-sulfated chondroitin sulfate. The FDA recall was the result of an investigation into the deaths of more than 80 people and illnesses of hundreds more people after receiving doses of heparin. CNN Money reports that the recall process is voluntary. Companies are not required to immediately comply with the FDA’s ... Read More

Low-molecular-weight heparin good therapy for cancer patients

Cancer Consultants, an oncology resource center, is reporting that prophylactic use of nadroparin, a low-molecular-weight heparin, significantly reduces the incidence of thromboembolic events in patients who have cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy. This finding was presented this week by Italian researchers with the PROTECHT Study, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hemotology. Thromboembolism is a blood clot in the blood vessel that breaks loose and is carried by the blood stream to plug another vessel. The clot may plug a vessel in the lungs, causing pulmonary embolism; brain, causing a stroke; gastrointestinal track, kidneys or leg. Thromboembolism ... Read More