Bacterial and fungal growth has been found in unopened vials of a steroid injection from a Tennessee pharmacy under investigation for links to reported infections, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The Main Street Family Pharmacy in Tennessee issued a nationwide recall of sterile products on May 28. Potentially defective products with a use-by date on or before November 20, 2013 are subject to recall.
Samples from two batches were found to have microbial growth in them, the FDA said. The steroid in question is preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate, an injectable form of a steroid medication used to treat inflammation throughout the body.
The steroid is most commonly used to treat arthritic joint pain, but also used for allergic reactions, sports-related injuries, certain cancers and immune system disorders.
As of Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 24 cases of infection from four states, including Florida. Most people developed skin and soft tissue infections after receiving the steroid injection.
This case is very similar to last year's outbreak of meningitis in steroid injections made in a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts. A rare form of fungal meningitis swept through several states, infecting 137 and killing 12 through the contaminated steroid injections.
The pharmacy that supplied the steroids, the New England Compounding Center of Framingham, issued a recall of over 17,000 vials that reached 75 clinics across 23 states. However, thousands of vials have already been used, including 900 in Tennessee alone.
The Tennessee Department of Health said that the compounding pharmacy is currently on probation as a result of a recent inspection.
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Source: CNN, "Fungal, bacterial growth found in steroid injections," June 10, 2013.