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Delaware Health Alert Network #281

October 25, 2012 12:36 pm


Health Alert
EXTENSION OF BLACK WIDOW ANTIVENOM EXPIRATION DATE

The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is issuing this health advisory on the extension of the expiration date for black widow spider antivenom (BWSA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The new expiration date for BWSA lot 0667018 is February 12, 2013 (previously labeled expiration date of 6/30/2012). The FDA recommends not using the expired diluents packaged with the BWSA and provides instructions on reconstitution of the BWSA (http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/ucm314789.htm).

Background

Black widow spiders (Latrodectus sp.) are endemic in our region with most of the reported cases of spider bites in Delaware originating from the coast. Supportive care, including analgesia, is effective for most persons with bites; but antivenom may be helpful for the sickest envenomated patients.

The major U.S. manufacturer of antivenom discontinued production several years ago. Although supplies are nearly exhausted nationwide, a replacement antivenom is in phase III trials; there will likely be a period of time during which licensed antivenom is unavailable.

Recommendations

  1. We encourage hospitals not to discard “expired” BWSA antivenom.
  2. Refer to the FDA notification for details on expired diluents packaged with BWSA since the diluents should not be used

Additional Information

  1. DPH, Bureau of Epidemiology (24/7): 1-888-295-5156
  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration: http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/ucm314789.htm

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