PHARMACY

Watson recalls one lot of fentanyl patches

BY Alaric DeArment

CORONA, Calif. The maker of a generic transdermal patch for treating chronic pain announced Friday that it would recall one lot of the patches from wholesalers and pharmacies after it found some of them leaking the active ingredient.

Watson Pharmaceuticals announced the recall when fentanyl patches from lot 92461850 were found to be leaking fentanyl gel. Watson shipped the lot between Jan. 30 and March 19, and the patches have an expiration date of Aug. 31, 2009.

The company said exposure to fentanyl gel could result in respiratory depression or overdose, which could be fatal. It said that anyone who has 75 mcg/hr Fentanyl Transdermal System patches should check the box or foil pouch for the lot number and expiration date and should not handle the pouches directly.

It advised anyone who has the affected patches to call 888-667-1508, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. eastern time. Anyone who comes into contact with the gel should rinse exposed skin with large amounts of water, but not soap, and flush the patches down the toilet while taking care not to handle them directly, Watson said.

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Study suggests link between heart disease and cognitive problems

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A study published July 23 in the European Heart Journal shows a relationship between heart disease and cognitive problems in middle-aged men and women.

The study examined 10,308 subjects aged 35 to 55 starting in the late 1980s. It recorded heart attacks and other heart problems up until 2004 and administered cognitive tests to 5,837 subjects.

The study found that subjects who developed heart disease scored lower on cognitive tests than those who did not. It could not determine, however, whether heart disease caused impairments or vice versa.

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Survey says: Americans in favor of e-prescribing, overhauling health care

BY Alaric DeArment

CHICAGO A survey released Thursday indicates that 82 percent of Americans think the health-care system in the United States needs to be either changed or overhauled, according to reports.

The Commonwealth Fund, which conducted the survey, looked at a random sampling of 1,004 American adults in May. Of the respondents, 32 percent said the system needed an overhaul, while 50 percent said it needed change.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents also reported that administrative hassles over insurance and bills as serious problems.

The survey also showed that 86 percent of respondents think doctors should transition to electronic health-care records, while 89 percent said doctors should be able to access test results electronically. Seventy-one percent support electronic prescriptions.

Thirty-two percent of respondents reported duplicative or unnecessary care.

Meanwhile, 44 percent expressed a desire to access their health records online, while 48 percent said they would communicate with their doctors by email and schedule appointments online.

About 47 million Americans lack health insurance. Electronic records are the norm in many countries, but have yet to catch on in the U.S.

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