Soy Supplements, Herbal Remedies May Reduce Hot Flashes

Posted 28 June 2016

(Reuters Health) – Soy isoflavones in foods or supplements, and some herbal remedies may help reduce menopause symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness, according to a review of 62 studies.

But not all complementary therapies have an effect.

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USA Endocrine Society hits compounded hormones and saliva testing

Posted 21 June 2016

The Endocrine Society has updated its statement on compounded “bioidentical hormones” and is urging clinicians not to prescribe them.

[Santoro N and others. Compounded bioidentical hormones in endocrinology practice: An Endocrine Society scientific statement. Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism 101:1318-1343, 2016]

The document states:

“Much of the advertising associated with these custom-compounded preparations implies that naturally occurring hormones are superior to synthetic hormones and compounded formulations are better than FDA-approved formulations. In some instances, the purveyors . . . claim to produce combinations of hormones that mimic the circulating hormonal milieu of young adulthood and therefore prevent various ravages of aging. In the most extreme cases, advertisers imply that compounded natural hormones are risk-free when compared with conventional menopausal hormone therapy that uses bioidentical and/or synthetic hormones. . . . However, very few (if any) of these claims are supported by research, and in fact, Read the rest

Medicines Control Council (MCC): guidelines on complementary medicines

Posted 13 June 2016

A number of updated guidelines for complementary medicines have been published on the MCC web site:

7.01 Complementary Medicines – Discipline Specific Safety and Efficacy V3 13-Jun-2016  –

7.03 Complementary Medicines – Use of the ZA-CTD format in the Preparation of a Registration Application V3 13-Jun-2016  –

7.04 Complementary Medicines – Health supplements Safety and Efficacy V2 13-Jun-2016 –

7.05 Complementary Medicines – Registration Application ZA-CTD – Quality V1 13-Jun-2016 –

The definition of a complementary medicine, to include the category ‘Health Supplements’ as suggested in a previous draft,  is expected to be finalised soon. CAMs will in future be divided into discipline-specific CAMs (linked to the AHPCSA-regulated disciplines) and ‘Health Supplements’. Guidelines on safety and efficacy will be then separated for the two types of CAMs, but the quality guideline and ZA-CTD guidelines are common to both types.

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Posted 13 June 2016

Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in plants in the Apocynaceae family such as Tabernanthe iboga, Voacanga africana and Tabernaemontana undulata. It is a psychedelic with dissociative properties. [Wikipedia]

Ibogaine has been offered as treatment for those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction by at least 3 South African centres:

A recent updates to the Schedules (Government Notice No. 620 in Government Gazette No. 40041, 3 June 2016; added ibogaine in Schedule 6. The MCC has also issued a specific call-up notice for this substance (Government Notice No. 502, Government Gazette No. 39970, 4 May 2016).

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Federal Trade Comission jolts “brain training” marketers

Posted 6 June 2016

During the past two years, three marketers of questionable “brain training” programs have settled USA Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges by agreeing to discontinue various claims.

  • The developers and marketers of LearningRx “brain training” agreed to stop claiming that their programs were clinically proven to permanently improve serious health conditions like ADHD, autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, and concussions and that the training substantially improved school grades, college admission test scores, career earnings, and job and athletic performance. They also claimed that their program was 10 times more cost-effective than tutoring.
    [Marketers of one-on-one ‘brain training’ programs settle FTC charges that claims about ability to treat severe cognitive impairments are unsupported. FTC press release, May 18, 2016]
  • Earlier this year, marketers of the Lumosity program settled charges that they deceived consumers with unfounded claims that their games can help users perform better at work
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ASA launches appeal against Herbex High Court ruling

Posted 03 June 2016

As previously posted here, Herbex took the ASA to the High Court arguing that the ASA has no jurisdiction over the claims Herbex made for their products.

Acting Judge D T v R Du Plessis  ruled in Herbex’s favour. This should be contrasted with the ruling made by the highly respected former Constitutional Court Judge, Kate O’Regan, who considered the very same argument in a Final Appeal Committee (FAC) ruling. Herbex argued, among other, that although they are members of the HPA, and although the HPA are members of the ASA, that Herbex are not members of the ASA – and therefore that the ASA has no jurisdiction over their false claims.

Lawyers for the HPA joined those of Herbex in the latter’s appeal. Usually the FAC comprises 3 additional members, but because of the gravity of the appeal, this was increased to 5, and … Read the rest