Forewarned is forearmed. Consumer Updates and MedWatch Alerts from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can inform all of us of recent reports from healthcare professionals and patients about drugs, medical devices, supplements, and other products that may negatively affect our health.
For example, on March 16, 2011, the FDA released a Consumer Update advising that the only over-the-counter asthma inhaler sold in the U.S. will no longer be available after December 31 as part of an international agreement to stop the use of substances that damage the environment. Primatene Mist (epinephrine) inhalers, FDA approved for temporary relief of occasional symptoms of mild asthma, are being discontinued because they use chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to move the medicine out of the inhaler so patients can breathe the medicine into their lungs. CFCs harm the environment by decreasing the earth’s ozone layer. This layer of the atmosphere protects us from some of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation, which can increase the risk of skin cancers and cataracts.
And here’s more news for inquiring minds and curious health-conscious consumers.
The FDA’s MedWatch Safety Alerts for February 2011 includes two recalls:
- Svelte 30 orange & gray capsules marketed as a natural herb for weight loss and two lots of counterfeit Extenze Tablets—both sold as dietary supplements—were found to contain sibutramine, a controlled substance that was withdrawn from the market in October 2010 for safety reasons. Do not use the Svelte 30 or Extenze products described above. Return them to the place where you bought them for a refund.
- Triad alcohol prep pads, swabs, and swabsticks, sold over-the-counter by themselves or packaged with some medical devices and prescription medicines for injection may be contaminated. The recalled disinfecting products list the manufacturer as either “Triad Group” or one of the following names: Cardinal Health, PSS Select, VersaPro, Boca/Ultilet, Moore Medical, Walgreens, CVS, and Conzellin. Do not use any of the products listed above. Return them to the place where you bought them for a refund.
FDA Consumer Updates by email are free for the asking.
Food Recalls, Market Withdrawals, and Safety Alerts [www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/default.htm] are also available.
To report a serious medical product problem to FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program, go online (see left side of page) or call 1-800-332-1088.
Source: FDA Consumer Health Information, www.fda.gov/ForConsumers