Pre-Filled Medication Cartridges Could Cause Overdose

Modern technology has streamlined many aspects of life and medicine is no exception. Advances in both knowledge and equipment have improved length and quality of life. Other technological improvements have simply made medicine easier. The Carpuject Syringe System is one invention that is meant to improve safety and efficiency. It includes pre-measured, pre-filled injections of common medications. Each of these “cartridges” is bar coded and clearly labeled in an effort to help prevent medication errors.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a product alert to health care providers concerning Carpuject cartridges that may have a manufacturing defect that could lead to a medication overdose. Some of these Hospira brand cartridges have been overfilled by at least twice the amount. The drug defect was identified after complaints came in from several doctors about cartridges containing too much morphine. A subsequent inspection of other products showed fifteen different kinds of medicine may have a similar defect. There have been no reports of patients who suffered from a hospital’s drug mistake.

Rather than issuing a product recall for the defective medication, the FDA is encouraging doctors to visually inspect each cartridge before use. Cartridges that have been overfilled and therefore contain an overdose can be identified with a quick visual inspection. A recall would result in a severe shortage of necessary medications, which is why one is not currently being enacted.


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