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New Study: Combining Commonly Used Drugs Linked to a Greater Risk of Death and Declining Brain Function
The findings of a new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society further support the importance of having your doctor regularly review your prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to ensure the additive risks of side-effects do not outweigh the benefits. This study specifically looked at prescription and over-the-counter medicines that are known to affect a chemical in the brain called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is important for passing messages from nerve cell to nerve cell, but many common drugs interfere with it as a side effect. Medicines that block acetylcholine activity have the potential to cause side effects such as constipation, drowsiness, confusion, memory problems, difficulty thinking or focusing, dry mouth, blurred vision, dizziness, and slowing of urination. Examples of medicines with anticholinergic activity and a potential to cause these side effects include antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil), imipramine (Tofranil) and clomipramine (Anafranil), tranquilizers such as chlorpromazine and trifluoperazine, bladder medication such as oxybutynin (Ditropan) and antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl). In the current study, eighty medicines were rated for their "anticholinergic" activity. They were ranked 0 for no effect, 1 for a mild effect, 2 for a moderate effect and 3 for a severe effect. A combined score was calculated in 13,000 patients aged 65 or over, by adding together the scores for all the medicines they were taking. The study found that participants with a medicine score of four or more were at an increased risk of death compared to patients taking no anticholinergic drugs. Those taking medicines with a combined score of five or more had lower scores on a cognitive function test which supports previous research showing a possible link between anticholinergic medicines and problems with thought processes. To see a list of the eighty medicines included in this study, please visit: http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2011/June/Anticholinergics+study+drug+list For more information, please visit: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03491.x/abstract
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New Study Suggests High-Dose Statins May Cause Diabetes
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that taking higher doses (80mg) of two types of widely prescribed statins - simvastatin or atorvastatin - increases the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes over five years, compared to taking moderate dose statins (20mg or 40mg). The researchers remain unclear about how statins work to trigger diabetes in some individuals. It could be possibly related to how statins affect muscle or liver insulin activity. Another explanation for increased diabetes in patients on high dose statin therapy may be because more patients at risk for diabetes are surviving due to the benefits of statins. More research is needed to confirm this study's findings. Atorvastatin is available under the brand name Lipitor and in the combination product Caduet. Simvastatin is available as a generic product, under the brand name Zocor, and in the combination products Simcor and Vytorin. For more information, please visit: http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/305/24/2556.abstract
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Date Published Title Drug Source
2011-06-24 New Study: Combining Commonly Used Drugs Linked to a Greater Risk of Death and Declining Brain Function Beclomethasone MediGuard CRT
2011-06-23 New Study Suggests High-Dose Statins May Cause Diabetes Atorvastatin MediGuard CRT
2011-06-18 Ortho-McNeil Voluntarily Recalls Two Lots: Risperdal (Risperidone) 3mg and Risperidone 2mg Risperidone Manufacturer
2011-06-16 FDA Warns: Chantix (varenicline) May Increase the Risk of Heart Attack, Angina and Other Heart-Related Adverse Events in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease Varenicline FDA
2011-06-15 FDA Issues Safety Update for Ongoing Safety Review of Actos (Pioglitazone) and Increased Risk of Bladder Cancer Glimepiride and Pioglitazone FDA
2011-06-15 Bristol-Myers Squibb Expands May 2011 Recall: More Tablet Strengths Recalled Warfarin Manufacturer
2011-06-14 Endo Pharmaceuticals Recalls Single Lot of Percocet 10 mg/325 mg Acetaminophen with Oxycodone FDA
2011-06-14 FDA Issues Warning About Medication Errors Due to Name Confusion Between Risperidone (Risperdal) and Ropinirole (Requip) Risperidone FDA
2011-06-13 Healthcare Providers Reminded About Risks With Victoza Liraglutide FDA
2011-06-09 FDA Issues Drug Safety Communication: Finasteride (Proscar, Propecia), Dutasteride (Avodart, Jalyn) May Increase the Risk of a More Serious Form of Prostate Cancer Finasteride FDA
2011-06-08 FDA Limits Use of 80 mg Simvastatin Simvastatin FDA
2011-06-06 Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc. Recalls Several Lots of Perindopril 2 mg Tablets Perindopril FDA
2011-06-02 FDA Completes Safety Review: Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs) for High Blood Pressure Do Not Increase Risk of Cancer Telmisartan FDA
2011-06-01 Sandoz Inc. Recalls Single Lot of Metformin Hydrochloride Tablets 1000 mg Metformin FDA
2011-06-01 Teva Pharmaceuticals Recalls Single Lot of Lansoprazole Delayed-Release Capsules USP, 30 mg Lansoprazole FDA
2011-06-01 Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Recalls Single Lot of Nabumetone Tablets USP, 750 mg Nabumetone FDA
2011-06-01 Pentrexyl Forte Natural Recalled Due to Misleading Packaging Ampicillin FDA
2011-05-31 FDA to review studies showing higher blood clot risk from drospirenone Drospirenone with Ethinyl Estradiol FDA
2011-05-27 Teva Pharmaceuticals USA. Recalls Single Lot of Fexofenadine Hydrochloride Tablets USP, 180 mg Fexofenadine FDA
2011-05-26 FDA Conducting a Safety Review of Revlimid and Risk of Developing Another Primary Cancer Lenalidomide FDA
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