Attention to Detail Can Minimize Risk of Wernicke Encephalopathy


Wernicke’s encephalopathy is a preventable condition caused by depletion of Thiamine. Thiamine depletion is associated with a variety of risk factors, including abuse of alcohol, certain cancers, AIDS and other infections, and gastric surgeries. Because early treatment is important, hospital guidelines indicate vitamin supplementation for certain patients regardless of whether symptoms have appeared.

A new study on fedratinib usage in patients suffering myeloproliferative neoplasms indicates how important early treatment is. Fedratinib approval was put on hold by the FDA in 2013 after a higher than expected cohort of patients suffered Wernicke’s encephalopathy after being given the drug. The follow-up study released in January of 2018 followed 877 patients who were administered fedratinib under careful medical care. In this instance, the rate of Wernicke’s encephalopathy was lower than for those patients not treated with the drug.

Though the goal of the study was to demonstrate the safety profile of fedratinib, the side effect of the research was to show that the overall prevalence of Wernicke’s encephalopathy can be lowered through proper care. In this case, with the doctor’s aggressively diagnosing and treating potential Thiamine deficiency, hospitals were able to lower the overall number of cases even while giving a drug previously associated with increased risk.

When people suffer serious health consequences and lasting disability or death due to a preventable condition, the medical establishment should take notice and institute guidelines to eradicate the disease. If you or someone you love has suffered due to Wernicke’s encephalopathy, it is important to recognize what could have been done differently to treat the disease before long-term damage was done. Please, consult with an experienced attorney about your case, and help apply pressure to the powers that be to fully recognize the dangers of failing to treat this condition.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.