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Important Change to Heparin Container Label Required to State Total Drug Strength and Avoid Medication Errors


The manufacturers of Heparin Lock Flush Solution, USP and Heparin Sodium Injection, USP have been required by the FDA to clearly state the strength of the entire container of the medication followed by how much of the medication is in 1 milliliter (mL). These modifications will eliminate the need for health care professionals to calculate the total amount of heparin medication in a product containing more than 1 mL, thereby reducing the risk of miscalculations that may result in medication errors.

 

Heparin is used to prevent blood clots from forming in people who have certain medical conditions or who are undergoing certain medical procedures that may increase the chance that clots will form, or to stop the growth of clots that have already formed in the blood vessels and to prevent blood clots from forming in catheters that are left in veins over a period of time.

 

Health care professionals, caregivers, and patients should be aware that that there will be a transition period before and after the official implementation date on May 1, 2013, during which both the current heparin container labels and the revised heparin container labels will be available in the marketplace. To minimize the potential for medication errors, users should consider separating the supplies of “current” and “revised” labeled heparin, and use all of the supplies of the “current” heparin before using products with the “revised” container label.

 

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