oa Southern African Journal of Anaesthesia and Analgesia - Evidence-based approach to the use of starch-containing intravenous fluids : an official response by two Western Cape University Hospitals : letter to the editor
Circular 114/2013 issued by the Western Cape Pharmacy Services entitled, Suspension of use of infusion solutions containing hydroxyethyl starch at Western Cape Government Health Facilities until further notice, resulted in the the non-availability of starch-containing solutions for clinical use. The reasoning behind the circular was based on the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) class 2 recall of starch solutions and the European Medicines Agency's Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee, who stated that: "The benefits of infusion solutions containing hydroxyethyl starch no longer outweigh the risks, and (we) therefore recommend that the marketing authorisations for these medicines are suspended". The two Western Cape University Hospitals have responded with a joint statement which is presented to SAJAA readers. The statement suggests withdrawals of corn-based starch solutions are based on flawed interpretation of the available data, particularly the suggestion that they cause renal dysfunction. The statement then interrogates why the use of corn-based starch solutions benefits patient care and improves outcome. Lastly, the problems of the alternative therapeutic options are examined. The conclusion reached is that the use of corn-based starch solutions should be reinstated. We believe this well-researched, evidence-based approach is worth publishing to a wider audience.
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