Medication Safety Articles

 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is  alerting patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals of the importance of appropriate storage, use, application, and disposal of fentanyl patches (including Duragesic and generic products) to prevent potential life-threatening harm from accidental exposure to the active ingredient, fentanyl.

Two new “Allegra” products are hitting the store shelves. However, they do not contain fexofenadine, the active ingredient in the original Allegra product used to treat allergies. These two new products, Allegra Anti-Itch Cooling Relief and Allegra Anti-Itch Intensive Relief, contain diphenhydramine and allantoin and are applied to the skin. The only thing they share with the original Allegra product is its name and the “look” of the packages.

Here is a mother’s blog, originally submitted to JNJParents, that caregivers of small children might find of interest. The author discusses a number of “safety gaps” when keeping medicines away from curious children.

Most people consider their pets as part of the family. But just like you wouldn’t want to take another family member’s medicines by mistake, you don’t want to accidentally take your pet’s medicine either.  Who would ever make that mistake? You’d be surprised how often it happens.

There are more than 600 different prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that contain acetaminophen (Tylenol). The drug is often found in pain relievers, fever reducers, and sleep aids as well as cough, cold, and allergy medicines. These medicines are safe and effective when used as directed. However, severe liver damage can occur from taking too much acetaminophen (if you continue to take more than 3,000 to 4,000 mg per day). In most cases, this can happen if you take more than the prescribed or recommended dose of acetaminophen or if you take more than one product containing acetaminophen.

In February, the Chicago Sun Times reported that 16 elementary school children had been taken to local hospitals with a sudden illness. The children were 9- and 10-year olds who began vomiting after eating “mints” given to them by another classmate. It was later found that these “mints” were actually nicotine-replacement lozenges, called NiQuitin Minis (Figure 1 on page 3). (NiQuitin is a product from the United Kingdom that is sold online; however, the Nicorette brand made in the US has a similar product.) The classmate found the lozenges at home and brought them to school to share.

Infants who are breastfed or partially breastfed should receive a daily supplement of vitamin D starting in the first few days of life. Breast milk has only 25 units of vitamin D per liter (that’s roughly a quart or about 32 ounces). The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a daily dose of 400 units of vitamin D for infants. Infants who drink less than a liter of formula also may need a lower dose of a vitamin D supplement. Although formula is fortified with vitamin D, enough may not be consumed each day to get the total recommended dose of 400 units.

The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) is a national leader in vaccine education for both healthcare professionals and the public. Recently, IAC announced a new and improved website to help the public get the information they need about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases. Visit www.vaccineinformation.org for reliable information on vaccines and their importance.

We received a report about patients purchasing a non-FDA approved drug product that was claiming to be a generic for a US product. Careprost (bimatoprost 0.03%) was found to be on www.amazon.com as a generic to Latisse (bimatoprost 0.03%)! Upon calling Allergan, the manufacturer of Latisse, they indicated that there is no FDA approved generic product available in the US. Our organization informed the FDA. Although you may not be able to purchase Careprost through Amazon anymore, there are other websites that can be found selling this product. As a reminder, always use caution when purchasing products on the internet. Products which are approved for use in the United States can be located here.

Acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol) is well known to consumers as an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever and fever reducer. Acetaminophen is an ingredient also found in many OTC and prescription medicines for both adults and children. 

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