clear
Saturday February 13th, 2016 2:32PM

FDA: Pharmacy's other drugs my be causing illness

By The Associated Press
NEW YORK - Two more drugs from a specialty pharmacy linked to a meningitis outbreak are now being investigated, U.S. health officials said, as they urged doctors to contact patients who got any kind of injection from the company.

The New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass., has been under scrutiny since last month, when a rare fungal form of meningitis was linked to its steroid shots used mostly for back pain.

Monday's step by the Food and Drug Administration followed reports of infections in three people who got different drugs made by the company. One is a possible meningitis illness in a patient who got a spine injection of another type of steroid. The agency also learned of two heart transplant patients who got fungal infections after being given a third company product during surgery.

The illnesses are under investigation, and it's very possible the heart patients were infected by another source, FDA officials cautioned. They did not say whether the meningitis case involved a fungal infection or where the three patients lived.

As of Monday, the current outbreak has sickened 214 people, including 15 who have died, in 15 states. For weeks, officials have been urging doctors to contact patients who got shots of the company's steroid methylprednisolone acetate, advise them about the risks of fungal infection, and urge them to take any meningitis symptoms seriously.

The steroid was recalled last month, and the company later shut down operations and recalled all the medicines it makes.

The FDA on Monday expanded its advice to doctors to contact all patients who got any injection made by the company, including steroids and drugs used in eye surgery as well as heart operations. The agency said it took the step "out of an abundance of caution" as it investigates the new reports involving the heart surgery drug and the second steroid, called triamcinolone acetonide.

The company issued a statement Monday that said it was reviewing the FDA's latest advisory, but is continuing to cooperate with the FDA and other federal and state agencies looking into the outbreak.

"As we have said, we will respect those public agencies' processes for investigations and will not comment while they are under way," the statement said.

Nearly all the 214 illnesses in the outbreak are fungal meningitis; two people had joint infections.

Last week, federal health officials said 12,000 of the roughly 14,000 people who received the steroid shots had been contacted. Those people received methylprednisolone acetate injections at clinics in 23 states.

New England Compounding, which custom-mixes ointments, painkillers and other products, is licensed to sell in all 50 states. The FDA did not say how many patients fall under the new advisory, or where the products were shipped.

Symptoms of meningitis include severe headache, nausea, dizziness and fever. The CDC said many of the cases have been mild, and some people had strokes. Symptoms have been appearing between one and four weeks after patients got the shots, but CDC officials on Thursday warned at least one illness occurred 42 days after a shot.
  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Business News
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Doctors: Blood clot located in Clinton's head
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton developed a blood clot in her head but did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage, her doctors said Monday. They say they are confident that she will make a full recovery.
3:55PM ( 3 years ago )
Illinois Sen. Kirk to return a year after stroke
Nearly a year after a stroke left him barely able to move the left side of his body, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is expected to climb the 45 steps to the Senate's front door this week - a walk that's significant not just for Illinois' junior senator, but also for medical researchers and hundreds of thousands of stroke patients.
3:54PM ( 3 years ago )
U.S. News
Ga. ethics legislation could end free tickets
General Assembly approval next year of a proposed ethics reform measure could endanger an important fall tradition for Georgia lawmakers - free football tickets.
6:26PM ( 3 years ago )
Abortion restrictions, tax changes loom in Ga.
Tax breaks for manufacturers and higher unemployment taxes for employers take effect with the new year in Georgia, but it remains to be seen whether the state's newest abortion restrictions will be enforced.
6:23PM ( 3 years ago )
Business News
U.S, Cuba to resume commercial flights for 1st time in 50 years
The United States and Cuba will sign an agreement next week to resume commercial air traffic for the first time in five decades, starting the clock on dozens of new flights operating daily by next fall, U.S. officials said Friday.
By The Associated Press
9:35PM ( 16 hours ago )
New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain are emerging
WASHINGTON (AP) — New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain emerged Wednesday as U.S. health officials say mosquito eradication here and abroad is key to protect preg...
6:22PM ( 2 days ago )
President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to help fight the Zika virus
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that spread it here and abroad, but says "there s...
10:40PM ( 4 days ago )
Search for Missouri couple wanted for crimes across the South, including Ga., ends with one suspect dead and the other wounded
A weeklong search for a Missouri couple wanted in a series of robberies and abductions across the South ended with one suspect dead and the other wounded Friday, after authorities say they chased the pair across the highway and through a rural neighborhood and exchanged gunfire with them in Florida's Panhandle.
By The Associated Press
9:57PM ( 1 week ago )
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while, buoying consumers, frustrating oil producers
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while.That reality is wreaking havoc and causing uncertainty for some governments and businesses, while creating financial windfalls for others. Less expensive...
6:18PM ( 1 week ago )