News Briefs: Week of Feb. 7-11

February 09, 2011 05:35 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

Potentially Dangerous Labeling Error Prompts Recall

Qualitest Pharmaceuticals is recalling three lots of hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets and three lots of phenobarbital tablets after an individual bottle of hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen was found incorrectly labeled as phenobarbital. As a result of this mislabeling, patients could take a dose of hydrocodone and acetaminophen instead of the intended dose of phenobarbital.

The FDA said in a Feb. 7 safety alert( that unintentional administration of hydrocodone can lead to serious adverse events, including respiratory depression, central nervous system depression, coma and death. Unintentional administration of acetaminophen may result in liver toxicity in patients on other acetaminophen-containing medications, patients with liver dysfunction, or people who consume more than three alcoholic beverages a day. Meanwhile, missing doses of phenobarbital could result in loss of seizure control.

The recall includes the following products:

  • 60-count bottles of hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets, USP 10mg/500mg, from lots T150G10B, T120J10E and T023M10A; and
  • 1,000-count bottles of phenobarbital tablets, USP 32.4 mg, from lots T150G10B, T120J10E and T023M10A.

Recalled lots were distributed between Sept. 21, 2010, and Dec. 29, 2010, to wholesale and retail pharmacies nationwide.

Qualitest said in a Feb. 5 news release( that consumers who have the recalled products should stop using them and contact the company at (800) 444-4011 for reimbursement. Health care professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events to the FDA's MedWatch program(

Resources Explain Medicare's New Prevention Benefits

A new brochure from the AMA, titled "Medicare Preventive Services: A new benefit for patients and physicians(," is designed to help physicians and their patients take advantages of new Medicare preventive care services called for in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.

According to a Feb. 4 news release( from the AMA, the new rules on Medicare benefits mean that more beneficiaries will have access to preventive services at a more affordable cost. The AMA resource should help physicians define Medicare-covered preventive services for their patients and help them create personalized prevention plans for beneficiaries.

Last July, AAFP's consumer-based website,, created patient resources( that outline what new benefits Medicare beneficiaries can expect because of passage of the health care reform legislation.

Distribution of Cancer Medication Affected by Triad Recall

Add Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. to the growing list of companies( issuing safety-related messages in the wake of the Triad Group's recall of alcohol prep pads.

According to a Feb. 4 news release( from Watson, the recalled pads -- which could expose patients to the pathogen Bacillus cereus -- were included in a convenience kit that is distributed with the prostate cancer drug triptorelin pamoate for injectable suspension, which Watson markets as Trelstar.

Watson, which has temporarily ceased shipments of its product with the convenience kit, said in the news release that its medication is not affected by Triad's recall. However, the company emphasized that patients should not use pads that were packaged with its medication and instead should use an alternative alcohol prep pad that is not subject to the recall or use a sterile gauze pad with isopropyl alcohol.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., Pfizer Inc., Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals and Genentech Inc. have issued similar alerts to physicians and consumers because their products also were packaged with the recalled pads.

VA Names Sites for Centers of Excellence in Primary Care Education

Five U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, medical centers have been selected to establish Centers of Excellence in Primary Care Education.

According to the VA(, the centers are part of a new initiative from the VA's Office of Academic Affiliations to prepare resident physicians, students and other trainees for primary care practice in the 21st century. Each center will receive $1 million a year for five years and will use VA primary care settings to develop and test innovative approaches to care.

The centers are

  • Boise VA Medical Center, Idaho;
  • Cleveland VA Medical Center;
  • San Francisco VA Medical Center;
  • VA Connecticut Healthcare System, Newington; and
  • VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Tacoma, Wash.