The FDA announced this week that it is investigating the deaths of two patients who died several days after receiving intramuscular injections of the long-acting antipsychotic drug Zyprexa Relprevv (olanzapine pamoate). According to the investigation, both patients received appropriate doses of the drug, and both were found to have "very high olanzapine blood levels after death." High doses of olanzapine can cause delirium, cardiopulmonary arrest, cardiac arrhythmias, and impaired levels of consciousness ranging from sedation to coma. The FDA has not yet determined if the drug is the cause of the fatalities. Zyprexa Relprevv is used for treating patients with schizophrenia.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, the anti-clotting drug Pradaxa has been linked with more than 500 deaths in the United States. Pradaxa is used to prevent strokes in people with atrial fibrillation, a heart-rhythm disorder.
CNN recently reported that the federal government has ruled that devices intended to prevent children from dying of heat stroke in parked cars are unreliable. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not want these devices to lull parents and caregivers into a false sense of security. While these devices can be used as an additional reminder to parents, they should not be exclusively relied on.
In the past few months, authorities have identified 14 people in six states (Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Tennessee) as being sickened by the same strain of E. coli. This strain, STEC-O145 (Shiga toxin-producing E. coli), is less common than STEC-O157. Often referred to as Non-O157 E. coli, this current strain is less likely to cause severe illness, yet in the current outbreak three people have been hospitalized and a 21-month-old girl has died. Officials from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintain that there is no reason for great concern, but there is a reason for increased awareness.
There is a great article in the New Haven Register this morning about a Cheshire teenager who saved the life of one his neighbors who was cut by a chainsaw after falling from a ladder. Unfortunately, many power tools are still manufactured today without a kill switch designed to shut off the tool if the user loses control of the tool. As a result, the same types of accidents happen over and over despite the fact that there is a readily available, inexpensive, and simple technological solution that can prevent these types of injuries. Frequently, a product can be made vastly safer simply by adding an inexpensive kill switch.