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Is it really needed?

From the January 15, 2009 issue

Is it really needed? Take a look at the 10,000 unit vial of heparin below. Whoops! Sorry, we mean the 40,000 unit vial! These error-prone vials, which in fact contain 40,000 units (10,000 units/mL), have been marketed by several companies. The label highlights the 10,000 units per mL concentration. What is easily missed is the 4 mL designation (below the bordered concentration), which could lead to believing the vial holds a total of 10,000 units. A statement in the USP general chapter now requires the per mL concentration and total amount per container to be printed on the label. But until USP changes the heparin monograph (expected later this year), manufacturers will continue to provide vials in greater than 1 mL volumes with confusing designation of the total amount of drug in the vials. Errors could result in a serious overdose. The bigger question is: Do you really need more than a 10,000 unit (total dose) vial?  


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