"I would hope this would not deter people from getting steroid injections to the joints," he said.
Tongue said millions of steroid injections into joints are done every year without infections. "It's kind of bread-and-butter orthopedics," he said.
He added that the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons doesn't have a guideline or policy against using compounding pharmacies such as the one in Massachusetts. "This is a new issue to me. We'll have to look at it," he said.
Compounding pharmacies "combine, mix, or alter ingredients to create unique medications to meet specific needs of individual patients," according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The customized drugs are frequently required to accommodate special cases, such as a smaller dose, or the removal of an ingredient that might cause an allergy in a patient. Sometimes compounding pharmacies also produce drugs when FDA-approved manufacturers are unable to meet demand, as during drug shortages, the agency said.
Also Monday, the FDA issued warnings about additional drugs produced by the Massachusetts company.
The agency said it was investigating a report of a meningitis infection in a patient who got a different steroid than the one linked to the nationwide infections.
The FDA also said it was checking reports of fungal infections in two heart transplant patients who got a cardiac solution made by the New England Compounding Center. The solution is used to paralyze heart muscle to prevent injury to the heart. It's possible, however, that the infections came from a source other than the solution, the agency said.
The CDC has more on the meningitis outbreak.
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