Current Suspected Overdose Deaths in Delaware for 2018: 259 logo

Delaware Health Alert Network #281

October 25, 2012 12:36 pm

Health Alert

The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is issuing this health advisory on the extension of the expiration date for black widow spider antivenom (BWSA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The new expiration date for BWSA lot 0667018 is February 12, 2013 (previously labeled expiration date of 6/30/2012). The FDA recommends not using the expired diluents packaged with the BWSA and provides instructions on reconstitution of the BWSA (


Black widow spiders (Latrodectus sp.) are endemic in our region with most of the reported cases of spider bites in Delaware originating from the coast. Supportive care, including analgesia, is effective for most persons with bites; but antivenom may be helpful for the sickest envenomated patients.

The major U.S. manufacturer of antivenom discontinued production several years ago. Although supplies are nearly exhausted nationwide, a replacement antivenom is in phase III trials; there will likely be a period of time during which licensed antivenom is unavailable.


  1. We encourage hospitals not to discard “expired” BWSA antivenom.
  2. Refer to the FDA notification for details on expired diluents packaged with BWSA since the diluents should not be used

Additional Information

  1. DPH, Bureau of Epidemiology (24/7): 1-888-295-5156
  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration:


You are receiving this message because you are a registered member of the Delaware Health Alert Network. If you are not a member and would like to subscribe, please register at

Categories of Health Alert messages:

  • Health Alert: Conveys the highest level of importance; warrants immediate action or attention.
  • Health Advisory: Provides important information for a specific incident or situation; may not require immediate action.
  • Health Update: Provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlikely to require immediate action.
NOTE: This page is for informational purposes only and dated material (e.g. temporary websites) may not be available.