Colorado Dangerous Drugs & Medical Devices

Heparin®

Burg Simpson is not currently pursuing new Heparin cases.

WHAT IS HEPARIN®?

Heparin® is a drug used as a blood thinner in order to prevent blood clots. It is a biologic product derived from pig intestines and has been sold in the United States since the 1930s.

WHEN IS HEPARIN® USED?

Heparin® is used most frequently as an injectable for patients undergoing kidney dialysis or invasive cardiac procedures, such as heart bypass surgery. Heparin is also often administered when patients have heart attacks, or when they suffer atrial fibrillation. Heparin injections are also given to patients who have been diagnosed with blood clots, such as deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolus. In addition, some medical devices used in surgical procedures have heparin coatings, such as vascular catheters, stents and grafts. Heparin is also used in burn treatments, as it helps to keep the blood flowing and reduces pain and inflammation.

WHY HAS HEPARIN® BEEN RECALLED?

In January of 2007, Baxter Healthcare Corporation began a series of nationwide recalls of its Heparin products due to reports of a life-threatening allergic-type response among patients. The reactions included fatal episodes of anaphylactic shock. Testing of the product eventually proved that Baxter’s Heparin contained a contaminant, identified as oversulfated chondroitin sulfate [OSCS]. OSCS is a synthetic, or man-made, compound that does not occur naturally and should not be found in Heparin.

WHAT ARE THE REACTIONS TO THIS CONTAMINATED HEPARIN®?

The most serious reaction is anaphylactic shock, characterized by extreme hypertension and constriction of air passages. Characteristic symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Stomach pain and nausea, perhaps vomiting
  • Swelling of the throat
  • Fast heart rate
  • Burning, redness or paleness or skin
  • Flushing
  • Abnormal sensation of skin, mouth or lips
  • Increased sweating
  • Decreased skin sensitivity
  • Difficulty opening the mouth
  • Thirst
  • Fainting
  • Lowered blood pressure

ARE THE EFFECTS OF THE CONTAMINATED HEPARIN LIFE-THREATENING?

Yes, many deaths have been reported from contaminated Heparin. Anaphylactic shock, even if not fatal, can cause severe and permanent damage to vital organs, such as the kidneys. The FDA reports 81 deaths among persons exposed to contaminated Heparin. Many lawsuits have been filed. You can read more about this issue on our Heparin Recall page.

IS HEPARIN SOLD IN ALL STATES?

Yes, and in 11 other countries too. However, only the Heparin sold by Baxter Healthcare Corporation has been found contaminated. By February 28, 2008, Baxter had recalled all lots and dosages of its Heparin products. Heparin manufactured by other companies is not contaminated and has not been recalled.

If you think you or a loved one might have received this Heparin, or if you have been suffering from symptoms like the ones above, contact your doctor immediately. We will be glad to give you a free case evaluation if you call or email our office. Our lawyers who are experienced in litigation involving prescription drugs are accepting new Heparin® cases from all states at this time.

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