Author | Jillene Magill-Lewis, RPh


Caution: Heparin errors can have fatal results

April 02, 2007

Last September, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) reported an incident that occurred at a Midwestern hospital. A pharmacy technician had stocked an automated dispensing cabinet with heparin 10,000 units/ml vials in a drawer reserved for heparin 10 units/ml. The nurses retrieving the vials did not notice the discrepancy in strength and used the 10,000 units/ml heparin for umbilical line flushes of six premature infants. Three of the babies died of heparin overdose.

New drugs join guidelines for multiple myeloma

January 22, 2007

Multiple myeloma (MM) is not curable, according to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), but it is treatable. The MM panel of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has added several drugs and drug combinations to the MM guidelines. Bortezomib (Velcade, Millennium Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson), lenalidomide (Revlimid, Celgene), and melphalan (Alkeran, GlaxoSmithKline) are all included in several combinations with cortico-steroids and other chemotherapy drugs. Lenalidomide is also recommended as single-agent treatment for salvage therapy.

Washington State weighs limiting narcotic doses

January 08, 2007

Deaths associated with opioid use have been on the rise in Washington State. In Seattle and surrounding King County, for example, opioid-related deaths increased by 40% between 2003 and 2004, according to Caleb Banta-Green, MPH, MSW, a research scientist for the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute at the University of Washington. Banta-Green reported that the increase in opioid-related deaths coincided with an increased rate of opioid prescriptions for the treatment of chronic pain.

New campaign aims to reduce Rx name confusion

December 11, 2006

Ortho-McNeil Neurologics (OMN) has launched a campaign to warn pharmacists about prescribing and dispensing errors. The campaign centers around two OMN drugs, topiramate (Topamax) and galantamine (Razadyne and Razadyne ER).