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More information on the recent heparin contamination problem reported from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Henry I. Bussey, Pharm.D., FCCP, FAHA
According to theheart.org (theheart.org/viewArticle.do?primaryKey=926377&nl_id=tho03dec08), the December 3, 2008 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine contains two articles of interest on this issue. The first (1) is a report from the CDC that summarizes what has been learned by a collaborative effort to review and document potential cases of adverse effects due to contaminated heparins that were recently pulled from the market. This report also indicates that U.S. manufacturers have agreed to employ certain tests to evaluate heparins that may be contaminated with over sulfated chondroitin sulfate (the contaminant thought to be responsible for the reported adverse effects, some of which were fatal). The second article (2) suggests that, at certain threshold concentrations, over sulfated chondroitin sulfate will increase the prothrombin which, therefore, may be useful as a quick clinical test to determine if such contamination may be present when suspected.
Blossom DB, Kallen AJ, Patel PR, et al. Outbreak of adverse reactions associated with contaminated heparin. N Engl J Med 2008; 359:2674-2684.
Alban S, Lühn S. Prothrombin time for detection of contaminated heparins. N Engl J Med 2008; 359:2732-2733.
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Thursday, March 30, 2017