There may soon be a shortage of a popular blood thinner used before surgeries and dialysis procedures. FDA officials say Baxter Healthcare Corporation will stop manufacturing multiple-dose vials of the blood-thinning drug Heparin.
The drug is used to prevent blood clots in patients considered high risk. There have been 350 adverse events linked to the drug since the end of last year - including difficulty breathing, low blood pressure and four deaths. The FDA has not established a direct link between the deaths and Heparin use. Almost all of the adverse reactions were seen in patients given large amounts of the drug over a short period of time. FDA officials still recommend that doctors administer Heparin from multiple-dose vials with extreme caution. Baxter makes about half of the nation's supply of the drug.
(Adverse reactions were seen in patients given high doses through IV vs. normal doses infused. The reaction was also seen in patients given combined doses from single-dose vials. This is the same drug that caused an adverse reaction in Dennis Quaid's twins; however they were given an accidental overdose. Most of the patients in these cases were intentionally given high doses.)