Product News and Recalls

Meningitis outbreak speads to seven states

The meningitis outbreak linked to fungus-tainted steroid medication had spread to 47 cases in seven different states as of Oct. 5, according to a story in the Boston Globe.

As of Oct. 5, the death toll was still listed at five.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added Michigan, with four cases, to the list of affected states. There were 29 reported cases in Tennessee; six in Virginia; three in Indiana; two each in Maryland and Florida; and one in North Carolina.

Although investigation into the precise cause of the infection is still ongoing, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Oct. 5 issued a statement that physicians should not use preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate, which is an injectable steroid produced and distributed by New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts.

The CDC’s investigations have found that all infected patients received an injection of the medication, which is used to treat back pain.

The pharmacy recalled 17,676 single-dose vials of the medicine, which had been shipped to clinics in 23 states.

Meningitis is a potentially life-threatening inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include severe headache, nausea, dizziness and fever.

According to the story, the rare type of fungal meningitis involved in the outbreak is not contagious like the more common forms.

The first identified case in the meningitis outbreak was diagnosed about two weeks ago in Tennessee, the report says. Three of the five deaths were in Tennessee; and the others were in Virginia and Maryland.

See the article here:

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2012/10/05/steroid-related-meningitis-cases-rise/4wg6sgooaYviqrjq9Vc6bO/story.html

See the FDA warning here:

http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm322849.htm?source=govdelivery