The FDA has announced that repackaged injections of the cancer drug Avastin, also known as bevacizumab, have caused a cluster of serious eye infections in the Florida area. The Florida Department of Health notified the FDA of Streptococcus endophthalmitis infections in three clinics following injections given through the eye of repackaged Avastin.
An investigation linked the tainted injections pharmacy errors to a pharmacy located in Hollywood, Florida. The pharmacy repackaged the Avastin from sterile injectable 100 mg/4 mL, single-use, preservative-free vials into individual 1 mL single-use syringes. The pharmacy then distributed the repackaged Avastin to multiple eye clinics in the area. The FDA said it is aware of at least twelve patients in at least three clinics who had eye infections. Some patients, already suffering from poor eye sight, have lost all remaining vision in the affected eye due to the endophthalmitis. Streptococcus endophthalmitis infections can lead to permanent blindness and brain damage.
The FDA approved Avastin in 2004 for treatment of non-small cell lung cancer and colorectal cancer when combined with chemotherapy. Avastin is also used “off-label” to treat patients suffering from wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The cancer drug is not approved by the FDA to treat wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). An Avastin eye injection study published earlier this year by Johns Hopkins University researchers found that patients given Avastin to treat AMD were 11% more likely to die and 57% more likely to suffer a stroke than those treated with Lucentis, which is a drug designed to treat the condition.
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