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FDA Alert: New USP Standards for Heparin Products Will Result in Decreased Potency
Date:10/1/2009

facilities time to learn about the changes and to make adjustments to their pharmacy procedures and dosing practices, according to John Jenkins, M.D. director of the Office of New Drugs in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

"Although the FDA-approved labeling for heparin has not changed, including the recommended doses, it is essential that health care professionals be aware of the potential difference in potency between the old and new vials of heparin when administering the drug," said Jenkins.

Four companies market heparin in the United States. APP, the largest manufacturer, markets heparin in vials; Hospira markets heparin in intravenous bags, vials, and syringes; Baxter markets heparin in intravenous bags, and B. Braun markets heparin in intravenous bags. The FDA has asked that all manufacturers identify their new products to help pharmacies and health care professionals differentiate it from the former product.

Prescription and over-the-counter medicines available in the United States must generally meet USP's public standards, when such standards exist. The revised standards for heparin are contained in a new USP monograph.

The monograph was revised, in part, in response to a 2007- 2008 incident of heparin contamination involving a manufacturing step in China. The contaminated heparin was associated with deaths and other adverse events in the United States. The monograph was changed to include a test for the contaminant.

For more information

FDA Alert to Health Care Professionals

http://www.fda.gov//Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm184502.htm

USP Heparin Information

http://www.usp.org/hottopics/heparin.html

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SOURCE U.S. Food and Drug Administration
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