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HHP Medication Safety Watch: August 2020

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This list contains selected items from the full FDA list of recalls, withdrawals, and alerts for medicines and certain health products. We've provided links to FDA information for each product and its maker. Unless otherwise noted, these actions apply only to the specific brand name of the product listed. Talk to your healthcare provider before stopping or changing any medicines or treatments that they have recommended for you.


Over-the-counter products and medicines

Hand sanitizers may be contaminated with methanol (wood alcohol)

Hand sanitizers may be contaminated with 1-propanol

Comment: Some hand sanitizers have the wrong type or amount of alcohol. Drinking a product that contains methanol can cause vomiting, headache, or blurred vision. More severe toxicity includes permanent blindness, seizures, coma, or death. In rare cases, toxicity could develop due to the topical application of contaminated hand sanitizer. Drinking a product containing 1-propanol can cause sedation, coma, and death. Infants and young children are at particular risk of accidental poisoning by these products. People with alcohol addiction and adolescents are also at high risk.

Goldenseal root powder recalled due to microbial contamination

Comment: The discovery of various microbial contaminants (and one infant death) has led to a voluntary recall of this powder. This product has been used as a treatment for a long list of ailments and conditions, ranging from the common cold and digestive disorders to hemorrhoids and liver disease. It has also been used in an effort to alter drug screening tests. No compelling evidence supports its effectiveness for any of these purposes.

 


Prescription medicines

Three nasal spray medications may deliver higher than expected doses

Comment: These products are being voluntarily recalled because they may deliver higher than expected amounts of medication leading to overdose.
 
Desmopressin (brand name: DDAVP) is used to treat a rare condition called "central diabetes insipidus," which is not related to the more common diabetes mellitus. It is also used as a temporary treatment around the time of head trauma or surgery involving the pituitary gland. Too much of this medication may cause water retention and dangerously low blood sodium levels which may lead to seizure, coma or death.
 
Stimate nasal spray is another brand name version of desmopressin. It is used for the treatment for blood disorders, including certain cases of hemophilia A and von Willebrand's disease. Overdose may cause low blood sodium, seizure, coma, or death.

Metformin may be contaminated with a compound that may cause cancer

Comment: Metformin is prescribed for type 2 diabetes. Certain batches of the medication contained a higher than acceptable level of N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a known carcinogen (a compound that may cause cancer).

 


Read additional issues of HHP Medication Safety Watch

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As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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