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401 Illness Blamed on Salmonella Tainted ConAgra Pot Pies

Federal health officials say ConAgra pot pies were responsible for 401 cases of salmonella poisoning last year.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) blamed confusing microwave cooking instructions for many of the illnesses.

According to an article published in this week’s issue of the CDC’s  Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,   the ConAgra pot pies ultimately sickened 401 people in 41 states.  Of those, 32 percent were hospitalized. According to the CDC, roughly 77 percent of those sickened had eaten ConAgra pot pies that had been cooked in the microwave.  (more…)

US Baby Formula Tests Positive for Melamine

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) said yesterday that “trace” amounts of melamine had been found in a sample of U.S.-made baby formula.  The FDA would not release the name of the formula or its manufacturer, and has maintained that the amount of melamine found poses no danger.

According to CNN.com, last month, the FDA set the safety threshold for melamine at 2,500 parts per billion for foods other than infant formula. The agency said it did not have enough data to set a safety threshold for infants.  The amount of melamine found in the sample of infant formula was less than 250 parts per billion, CNN.com said. (more…)

Epilepsy Drug Linked to SJS, Other Skin Reactions in Asian Patients

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating a possible link between the drug phenytoin and Stevens Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) and other skin reactions in certain Asian patients.  Phenytoin is an antiepileptic drug marketed as Phenytek and Dilantin  in the U.S. Fosphenytoin sodium (Cerebyx), a prodrug that is converted to phenytoin after administration, was also included in yesterday’s alert.

This is the second phenytoin side effect investigation the FDA has launched in the past several months.  In a quarterly report released in September, the agency indicated it was investigating a possible link between intravenous administration of phenytoin and a condition called Purple Glove Syndrome.  This condition, which was named for the discoloration that often accompanies it, can lead to the need for emergency surgery, and even limb amputation, if it becomes serious.

(more…)

Paxil, Prozac Up Risk of Heart Birth Defects

A new study has found a link between heart birth defects and taking Paxil or Prozac during early pregnancy. According to an article published in the November issue of The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, the prevalence of major heart birth defects among children born to Prozac users was 2.8%.  It was 2% in the Paxil group and 0.6% in the control group.

The study also found that women who smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day  while taking one of the antidepressants were 5.40 times more likely to have a baby with a heart anomaly.  Those smoking less than ten cigarettes a day were 2.75 times more likely to have a baby with a heart birth defect, the study said. (more…)

Animas Corp. Recalls Battery Caps on Insulin Pumps

 Animas Corp. is recalling the battery caps on some of its insulin pumps because they may not maintain contact with the device’s battery compartment.  According to the Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA), this is a Class I Recall.  Class 1 recalls are the most serious type of recall and involve situations in which there is a reasonable probability that use of these products will cause serious injury or death.

When the cap loses contact with the battery compartment, the insulin pump will temporarily lose power.  A power loss can cause the device to stop administering insulin, which could result in an excess level of glucose in the blood (hyperglycemia). Additionally, this failure may lead to user confusion in the amount of insulin administered, contributing to errors in future doses, which may result in lower than normal level of glucose in the blood (hypoglycemia).  (more…)

MabCampath Deaths Reported

Health Canada has issued an alert involving the leukemia drug MabCampath and infection-related deaths.Researchers conducting  a clinical trial in the United States  reported six infection-related deaths out of 51 patients, the alert said.

The deaths occurred among patients who were taking immune system-suppressing anti-leukemia drugs, followed by MabCampath.  The six fatal infections were due to either bacteria, viruses or fungus, Health Canada said. All three drugs used in the study  are known to reduce the activity of the immune system which makes the treated individual more susceptible to infection, Health Canada said. (more…)

Fourth Accutane Trial Loss for Roche

Another jury has found the maker of Accutane liable for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in three people, and ordered the drug’s maker to pay the victims nearly $13 million. According to Bloomberg News, a jury in Atlantic City, New Jersey ruled yesterday that Roche AG failed to properly warn of Accutane side effects.

The jury awarded a total of $12.9 million to the three plaintiffs, all of whom were from Florida.  According to Bloomberg, Jordan Speisman, 27, won compensatory damages of $8.5 million and medical expenses of $142,500; Lance Sager, 28, damages of $2.5 million and medical costs of $125,000; and Kelly Mace, 25, damages of $1.5 million and medical expenses of $128,000. (more…)

More Victoria’s Secret Bra Rash Lawsuits

Two more women have filed lawsuits against Victoria’s Secret for selling bras that caused serious skin reactions. The latest Victoria’s Secret bras lawsuits were both filed by Parker Waichman LLP, a personal injury law firm with offices in New York, New Jersey and Florida.

Both lawsuits were brought on behalf of women who claim they purchased and wore undergarments or intimate apparel from Victoria’s Secret.  As a result, the women suffered skin reactions, hives, scarring and other problems.  The first lawsuit was in  filed US District Court for the Southern District of Florida Palm Beach Division, while the other was filed in US District Court for the Eastern District of  New York. (more…)

CPSC Reports Window Blind Recalls After Death, Near Strangulation

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced two window blinds recalls, after one child was killed, and another nearly strangled to death.

According to the CPSC, a 1-year-old girl from Greenwich, Conn. died in April after becoming entangled in the inner cord of an IKEA Roman Blind and strangled.  The child was in a portable playpen that was located underneath a fully lowered Roman blind. She was found partially suspended with the inner cord of the blind wrapped twice around her neck.  The CPSC is warning that strangulation can occur when a child places his/her neck in an exposed inner cord on the backside of the Roman blinds. (more…)

Avastin Linked to Blood Clots

A new Avastin study finds that the cancer study puts patients at a higher risk of developing blood clots in the veins. These types of blood clots put patients at a higher risk of death, because they can travel to the lungs.  Clots are already a common problem faced by cancer patients.

Dr. Shenhong Wu, coauthor of the Avastin study, told USAToday that the drug should bear the FDA’s strongest warning – a black box – regarding its blood clot risk.  Doctors didn’t know the magnitude of Avastin’s risks until now because earlier studies were too small to show a clear trend, Wu said. (more…)

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