Saturday, February 6, 2016

Michael Cohen

A preventable cancer drug error that’s always fatal

Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 10:02 AM
A rare but fatal error can occur when the cancer medicine vincristine is given the wrong way. Vincristine is given intravenously (into the vein) to treat various types of cancer, often in children for leukemia. It is often given in combination with another cancer medicine called methotrexate. Methotrexate... Read more

Have kids around the house? Avoid camphor products

Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 6:00 AM
A 5-year-old was accidentally given camphorated phenol liquid instead of acetaminophen (Tylenol) liquid. Camphorated phenol is meant to be applied to the skin only. The child developed seizures and was taken to a hospital emergency department (ED) for treatment. In the ED the child’s mother produced... Read more

Orally dissolving film strips could pose hazard to kids

Monday, October 7, 2013, 10:01 AM
Have you seen or even purchased one of the commercially-available thin film strip products intended for use as mouth fresheners? Products like Meltz Super Thin Mints and Listerine PocketPaks are packaged in a small container that allows removal of one flavored strip at a time. They’re about the... Read more

Critically important anesthetic faces drug shortage if used in a Missouri execution

Tuesday, October 1, 2013, 1:55 PM
Concern is building among health professionals around the U.S. about the possibility of a severe shortage of one of the most widely used anesthetics in medicine. If Missouri carries out a plan later this month to execute a prisoner using propofol, there’s a good chance that exportation of the... Read more

New warnings for common antibiotic class

Tuesday, September 3, 2013, 10:07 AM
FDA is requiring a label update to warn of the risk of nerve damage from a very important class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones. These are 6 commonly used antibiotics that include Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, Noroxin, Floxin and Factive. The warnings are for oral or injectable quinolones, not eye... Read more

Pain patch wearers must take extra care around children

Thursday, August 1, 2013, 9:20 AM
Despite warnings from the FDA, drug manufacturers, and various patient safety agencies like ours (ISMP), we’re still hearing from grieving parents or grandparents or health professionals who’ve experienced the death of a child or who somehow got ahold of a fentanyl pain patch that someone... Read more

Fleet Enema label misleads – it’s not just “saline”

Friday, June 28, 2013, 6:00 AM
In 2006 the FDA warned consumers about kidney failure seen in some users of oral sodium phosphates (OSP) like Fleet’s Phospho-soda. FDA’s review of adverse event data did not show kidney problems when these over-the-counter oral products were used at lower doses for laxative use. But they... Read more

Patient friendly service or danger up ahead?

Thursday, June 20, 2013, 6:00 AM
Doctors sometimes provide patients with drug samples to get them started on a needed medication in a timely manner. Hospital emergency departments (EDs) have also sent patients home with starter doses or unit dose packages from the hospital pharmacy. This allows the patient to start taking the medicine... Read more

Avoid look-alike medication mistakes

Friday, June 14, 2013, 6:00 AM
We often receive reports from people who took the wrong medicine or the wrong dose because of mix-ups with products that looked similar. Sometimes people rely on the appearance of tablets, capsules, or packages to identify their medicines, instead of reading the labels carefully. Look at these eye... Read more

OTC drugs that are quite different might share the same name

Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 6:05 AM
You may find it hard to believe, but FDA has no say in how many over-the-counter drugs are named. That’s a great help to companies who want to market their drugs but it’s a problem for those of us concerned about drug safety. OTC users sometimes fall victim to a potentially dangerous situation... Read more
About this blog

Check Up is a blog for savvy health consumers, covering the latest developments, discoveries, and debates from the Philadelphia area and beyond.

Portions of this blog may also be found in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section.

Charlotte Sutton Health and Science Editor, Philadelphia Inquirer
Tom Avril Inquirer Staff Writer, heart health and general science
Stacey Burling Inquirer Staff Writer, neuroscience and aging
Marie McCullough Inquirer Staff Writer, cancer and women's health
Don Sapatkin Inquirer Staff Writer, public health
David Becker, M.D. Board certified cardiologist, Chestnut Hill Temple Cardiology
Michael R. Cohen, R.Ph. President, Institute for Safe Medication Practices
Daniel R. Hoffman, Ph.D. President, Pharmaceutical Business Research Associates
Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. Cardiothoracic surgeon in the Philadelphia area
Amy J. Reed, M.D., Ph.D. Anesthesiologist and Surgical Intensivist in the Philadelphia Area
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