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Tainted heparin batches the cause of 200 drug reactions in United States


NEW YORK A chemical added to supplies of the blood-thinning drug heparin from China caused more than 200 drug reactions in the United States, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed in a report published in the Dec. 4 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Since November 2007, heparin contaminated with oversulfated chondroitin sulfate‹a chemical that mimics heparin’s blood-thinning properties‹has caused 152 drug reactions and 81 deaths in patients using heparin, and contaminated supplies of the drug have shown up in at least 10 countries.

Reactions included huge drops in blood pressure, shortness of breath and nausea, occurring within half an hour of administration.

Much of the contaminated heparin came from Baxter Healthcare, which imported the drug from China. In early November, the Food and Drug Administration seized 11 lots of OSCS-contaminated heparin from Cincinnati-based Celsus Labs.

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