Maple Grove, MN

763-494-9500

Boulder, CO

303-552-8722

The Dirty on Tainted Steroid Injections causing Fungal Meningitis (Part 1)

This fall, a fungal meningitis outbreak of historic proportions is occurring locally and nationwide due to tainted methylprednisolone acetate, a common joint and epidural injection for pain purchased from the New England Compounding Center.  The center shut down almost immediately as inspectors wrote about dirty floors and a leaky boiler. Floor mats near sterile drug-mixing areas were “visibly soiled with assorted debris,” and a leak from a nearby boiler created an “environment susceptible to contaminant growth”.  Furthermore, according to Massachusetts law, compounding pharmacies must have a prescription for every patient for each dose they send out; otherwise it falls under manufacturing mandates.  But documents recently released show multiple complaints against the pharmacy going back to 1999.

Two of these bulk loads were administered to 800 people in Maple Grove, Edina, Fridley, and Shakopee by the Medical Advanced Pain Specialists (MAPS), Minnesota Advanced Pain Center and the Minnesota Surgery Center, causing a major health concern for the area.  Every one of these 800 patients were called and referred to diagnostics if they were symptomatic.  Per the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website, 13 people contracted fungal meningitis in Minnesota with zero morbidity to date. Nationwide, the numbers continue to rise as the fungal meningitis outbreak has sickened more than 480 people and killed 33.

It gets worse- it has happened before.  In 2002, at least seven people got sick and two died after being injected with the same methylprednisolone acetate infected with the same black fungus made in large quantities by a South Carolina pharmacy.

So what do we take away from this whole mess?  And a mess it is, because of the incredible risk of such a devastating disease for so many people caused by a system we rely on for our most basic human need: healthcare.  We can only hope that the CDC and the FDA mandate positive changes in the industry that will prevent recurrence (again).

But that is not a solution for us, the consumers of healthcare, when assessing the risks and benefits of treatment. So, in a new age of “consumer medicine”, it is up to each of us to be our first health champion.  We must stay informed and seek guidance from those we trust- our acupuncturist, GP, or other caregiving expert.

In that vein, let me inform you in my next installment concerning steroid injections, their utility and their overuse.  There are times when steroid injections are worth the inherent risks, specifically when more conservative measures have failed or the pain level is debilitating.  That way, at least for this group, we will hopefully not be taking undue risk when seeking care.

 

Meet Our Practitioners:

I love this place! I saw Nicky and she truly feels for her patients. She is wonderful at what she does and makes it a great comfortable and peaceful place. She has helped me so much! I highly recommend her!

- Jessica

My experience with Modern Point Acupuncture has been outstanding.  I was treated by Nicky.  She has a warm and fun personality as well as a vast amount of knowledge.  Her passion for what she does is refreshing since I have been to many other acupuncturists where it is lacking. She truly wants to get to the root of the problem and get you pain relief.  I came to her with a severe antibiotic resistant sinus infection accompanied by chronic migraines.  After one session the pain went down drastically in my face and the migraines were improved.  After about two months of one or two appointments/week the migraines and sinus issues were gone and I was off all medications.  I would highly recommend anyone to her (Nicky), she is amazing at her craft.  Finding Modern Point Acupuncture has been such a blessing!

- C.M.

I have great news!! I'm PREGNANT! It is still hard for me to believe, and I cannot thank you enough! I strongly believe you had a very significant role in this good news :) and am incredibly thankful I came to see you Nicky! You are super great and I am so so happy I came to you!! THANK YOU again!

- B.C.

"I have horrible allergies and have tried acupuncture a little in the past but in the past the acupuncture was performed by a chiropractor. I went to see Lindsay once and then signed up for 10 sessions. It is amazing what acupuncture can do. My favorite is that it totally relaxes you and then you notice things during your day that it has helped with. Lindsay is extremely knowledgable and I have learned so much. It is amazing how certain parts of the body are tied to your eyes, brain, etc. If you have any type of issue go see Lindsay. She is great."

- Korrine

I'm so excited I get to do just that to tell you that I am pregnant!!!!  I just had my 8 week ultrasound today and baby looks good and healthy! Thank you so much for everything that you did for me Nicky! I appreciate it more than you know!

- B.R.

"Lindsay is a very caring and helpful person. She really cares about how her patients feel."

- Cassie

"Adam is the best! Not only is he awesome at what he does, he seems to be a genuinely nice human. He took the time to learn about my embarrassing condition and try to gear my treatment towards that. He was excited to learn about something he didn't know existed, and I very much appreciated that. I'd highly recommend seeing him! Thanks Adam!"

- Amanda D.