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Drug News: Methylprednisolone

Woman Dies from Contaminated Drug

An elderly woman died during August 2002 in a Raleigh, North Carolina hospital, and two others contracted meningitis as a result of a medication infected with a type of mold called Wangiella dermatitidis.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, three patients in eastern North Carolina who received injections of the drug methylprednisolone contracted fungal meningitis from contaminated medication. State Health Officials estimated that up to 1,000 patients in North Carolina clinics may have been injected with the same drug. The methylprednisolone made by a South Carolina pharmacy was sent to facilities in Pinehurst, NC, Goldsboro, NC, and Jacksonville, NC. At least some of the contaminated drug originated from South Carolina Urgent Care Pharmacy in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Because of a national shortage of methylprednisolone from the regular manufacturer, the South Carolina pharmacy made a batch and shipped it to clinics in Virginia, Connecticut, South Carolina, Massachussetts, and North Carolina.

Meningitis is an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include headache, fever, stiff neck, vomiting, and back pain. Health officials stated that patients who received spinal shots of this contaminated methylprednisolone are most at risk for developing symptoms of meningitis.


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