Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Blood Substitutes Linked to Deaths

Safety Data Hidden From Public, Researchers Say
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

April 28, 2008 -- Patients treated with experimental blood substitutes were 30% more likely to die and more than twice as likely to have heart attacks as patients who did not get the blood substitute products, a pooled analysis of the research reveals.

Combined results from 13 published and three unpublished industry-sponsored trials showed the increase in risk for all the hemoglobin-based blood substitute products tested and for all populations studied, including trauma patients and those having heart, vascular, or elective surgery.

The study, conducted by researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, is scheduled for publication in the May 21 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

But the findings were made public online Monday, the day before a planned two-day FDA-sponsored workshop examining the safety of the blood substitutes.

NIH researcher Charles Natanson, MD, says the analysis makes it clear that the products are too dangerous for use in human clinical trials.

One of the blood substitutes, Biopure Corp.'s Hemopure, is approved for use in humans in South Africa. None is approved for human use in the U.S., but there are five ongoing clinical trials involving the blood substitutes, Natanson says.

"I don't believe this research should go forward in humans until these products have been reformulated and animal studies show them to be less toxic," he tells WebMD.

1 | 2 | 3

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing