Monday, October 08, 2012

Fungal Meningitis Outbreak & Migraine Patients

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Chances are good you've heard about the fungal meningitis outbreak that was traced to a tainted batch of a steroid used in injections. What you may not have realized, however, is the possibility that you were exposed or that the recall could affect the treatments available to you as a migraine patient in the coming months.

It's not at all uncommon for migraine patients to receive injections of steroids as part of a well-rounded migraine management plan. Most of the news coverage about the outbreak has focused on this steroid's use for treatment of back pain, but it's also used for occipital (head) and cervical (neck) nerve blocks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control the tainted vials of steroid were distributed to locations in these 23 states:
California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia

Cases of fungal meningitis have been reported in Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. To date eight infected patients have died.

However, even patients who were not exposed to fungal meningitis through these tainted batches of methylprednisolone may find their treatment plans altered as a result of the recall on this medication. It is not yet clear whether there will be a shortage of the drug.

Fungal meningitis is not contagious. Symptoms commonly associated with the condition include severe headaches, nausea, dizziness, fever, confusion, slurred speech, weakness, urinary retention and sensory deficits. If you've received a steroid injection recently and begin to experience these symptoms, immediately seek medical treatment.

If you typically receive nerve blocks, before your next procedure ask what medication you're being given and whether they've checked the lot number if you're getting methylprednisolone.


1. Robert, Teri. "Methylprednisolone Recall Could Impact Migraine Treatment." Health Central. October 5, 2012. 2. Ghianni, Tim. "Meningitis-linked steroid may have affected 13,000 people in U.S.: CDC." Reuters. October 8, 2012. 3. "Fungal Meningitis." Centers for Disease Control. October 5, 2012. Accessed October 8, 2012.

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.