PHARMACY

Watson Pharmaceuticals recalls fentanyl patches

BY Allison Cerra

MORRISTOWN, N.J. Watson Pharmaceuticals announced Monday that one lot of 100 mcg/hr Fentanyl Transdermal System patches sold in the United States is being voluntarily recalled from wholesalers and pharmacies.

Watson’s Fentanyl Transdermal System CII is indicated for the management of persistent, moderate to severe chronic pain that requires continuous, around the clock opioid administration for an extended period of time and cannot be managed by other means such as non-steroidal analgesics, opioid combination products, or immediate release opioids.

The recalled patches are from Lot Number 145287A, have expiration dates of February 2011 and were manufactured by Watson Laboratories, Inc. and distributed by Watson Pharma. The affected lot of patches was shipped to customers between April 2 and May 20 of this year. No other strengths or lots were affected and the company does not anticipate any product shortages as a result of this recall. The company has notified the Food and Drug Administration of the recall.

A small number of patches leaking fentanyl gel have been detected in this lot, potentially exposing patients or caregivers directly to fentanyl gel. Fentanyl patches that are leaking should not be used. No serious injuries have been reported in connection with the recalled lot. However, exposure to fentanyl gel may lead to serious adverse events, including respiratory depression and possible overdose, which may be fatal.

Patients using fentanyl patches who have medical questions should contact their healthcare providers.

Anyone who comes in contact with fentanyl gel should thoroughly rinse exposed skin with large amounts of water only; do not use soap. Immediately dispose of affected patches that may be damaged or compromised in any way by flushing them down the toilet, using caution not to handle them directly. Damaged and/or compromised patches that have leaked gel will not provide effective pain relief.

Any adverse reactions experienced with the use of this product, and/or quality problems should also be reported to the FDA’s MedWatch Program by phone at 1-800-FDA-1088, by Fax at 1-800-FDA-0178, by mail at MedWatch, FDA, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852-9787, or on the MedWatch Web site at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

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Asteres to debut new automated pharmacy kiosk at NACDS Pharmacy & Technology Conference

BY Alaric DeArment

SAN DIEGO A company that makes automated pharmacy kiosks plans to unveil its latest products at an upcoming conference.

Asteres, which makes the ScriptCenter kiosk, announced this week that it would debut ScriptCenter 24/7 Automated Pharmacy Services at the 2009 National Association of Chain Drug Stores Pharmacy & Technology Conference in Boston, which begins Saturday.

“To date, ScriptCenter has enabled retailers to reduce pharmacy hours and increase customer services,” Asteres CEO Mark de Bruin said in a statement. “The addition of 24/7 Automated Pharmacy Services will expand customer engagement opportunities and drive incremental store sales leveraging kiosk, online and cell technologies.”

The services include the Express Prescription Pickup, Prescription Drop Off Anytime, one-touch pickup for families, ScriptCenter.com and others.

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Sciele Pharma announces availability of head lice treatment

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A new drug for treating head lice has become available from a subsidiary of a Japanese drug company.

Sciele Pharma, part of Shionogi, announced this week the availability of Ulesfia (benzyl alcohol lotion 5%). The medication kills head lice by asphyxiation without potential neurotoxic side effects, the company said.

Head lice infestation affects 6 to 12 million children between the ages of 3 and 12 every year. To breathe, head lice use breathing holes that close upon contact with most liquids, which allows them to go into suspended animation and survive for hours without respiration, but Ulesfia prevents them from closing their breathing holes, causing the insects to asphyxiate.

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