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Complementary Medicines Archives - CAMcheck

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Archive | Complementary Medicines

Contemporary bogus autism therapies summarized

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Posted 24 July 2018

For her Woo Watch column, Kavin Senapathy has authored a two-part overview of autism relevant to consumer decision-making. Part 1 describes autism spectrum disorder; the false link between autism and both the MMR vaccine and thimerosal; mainstream therapeutic interventions; the autism acceptance movement; and eight dubious approaches:

  • (a) the DAN! Protocol,
  • (b) chlorine dioxide (CD/MMS),
  • (c) secretin,
  • (d) chelation,
  • (e) hyperbaric oxygen (HBOT/HBO2),
  • (f) chemical castration with Lupron,
  • (g) GcMAF, and
  • (h) stem cell therapies.

Reference: Senapathy K. On unsubstantiated yet prevalent therapeutic interventions for autism [Part I. Skeptical Inquirer, July 9, 2018

Part 2 lists red flags to look out for with any purported treatment or cure for autism and discusses five more unsubstantiated interventions:

  • (a) CEASE therapy,
  • (b) facilitated communication,
  • (c) gluten-free casein-free (GFCF) diet,
  • (d) non-GMO diets, and
  • (e) the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet.

Reference: Senapathy K. On unsubstantiated yet prevalent Read the rest

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“Complementary medicine” (CM) use linked to worse outcomes for cancer patients

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Posted 23 July 2018

From a national database of more than 1.9 million patients, researchers identified 258 users of CM who were diagnosed with non-metastatic breast, prostate, lung, or colorectal cancer from 2004 through 2013. This group was compared to four times as many nonusers of CM who were similar in neighborhood of residence, age, stage of cancer, concurrent health problems, insurance type, race/ethnicity, year of diagnosis, and type of cancer. All patients in both groups had undergone chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, and/or hormone therapy. The modalities involved were herbs and botanicals; vitamins and minerals; probiotics; Ayurvedic medicine; traditional Chinese medicine; homeopathy and naturopathy; deep breathing; yoga; Tai Chi; Qi Gong; acupuncture; chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation; meditation; massage; prayer; special diets; progressive relaxation; and/or guided imagery. The findings included:

  • CM use was associated with higher stage of cancer, younger age, being female, having private insurance, higher socioeconomic status, higher income, and
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Ethical pharmacists should not sell quackery

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Posted 09 May 2018

Last week, Ivo Vegter, the editor of Daily Maverick, posted an article arguing that ethical pharmacists should not sell quackery. 

This week, in response he writes: “Last week, I argued for an “ethical pharmacist” certification for pharmacists who do not sell quack remedies, miracle diets and detox cures. This week, let me consider two of the responses I’ve had; one from a pharmacist, and one from a homeopath. One makes a good point, the other does not”.

This article is a worth-while read for a variety of reasons, and in particular for all those arguing that CAMs should have a ‘place in the sun’.

My first reaction was that there is no need to seek a balance between fact and fiction, science and magic, medicine and quackery.

Although a great part of the article addresses homeopathy, much of his argument can be applied to many Read the rest

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The journey of a “doctor” who joined the cult of alternative medicine and then broke out of it

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Posted 01 October 2017

One Friday afternoon in May 2014, Britt Hermes was scheduled to treat one of her cancer patients with an injection of Ukrain. This wasn’t especially unusual; people often came to Hermes, a naturopath in Arizona, for the treatment. That day, though, an expected shipment of the drug hadn’t arrived, and Hermes’s patients weren’t happy. They had been promised that Ukrain given on a strict schedule would help them when nothing else was working. So she asked her boss what was going on.

“In response, he made an off-hand remark: ‘Oh don’t worry. Most likely the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] confiscated it. It’ll just arrive late,’” Hermes recalls today. When she asked him what he meant, he fumbled. “He realized that he may have said something he shouldn’t have.”

This article, published in Quartz, is about a naturopath who discovered that there was little to Read the rest

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Finalised Medicines Regulations have been published

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Posted 28 August 2017

The Finalised Medicines Regulations have been published at last: http://www.gov.za/sites/www.gov.za/files/41064_gon859.pdf

Regulation 42(5)(c)(ii)(cc) requires that advertisements for unregistered complementary medicines include the disclaimer: “This unregistered medicine has not been evaluated by the SAHPRA for its quality, safety or intended use.”

It also includes regulations governing Complementary medicines, and “Health Supplements

“complementary medicine” means any substance or mixture of substances that –

(a) originates from plants, fungi, algae, seaweeds, lichens, minerals, animals or other substance as determined by the Authority;

(b) is used or purporting to be suitable for use or manufactured or sold for use –

(i) in maintaining, complementing or assisting the physical or mental state; or

(ii) to diagnose, treat, mitigate, modify, alleviate or prevent disease or illness or the symptoms or signs thereof or abnormal physical or

mental state of a human being or animal; and is used-

  • as a health
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Complementary medicines: When regulation results in revolution

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Posted 30 May 2017

This article, published in the South African Medical Journal (SAMJ), is in related to the recent publication of regulations and drafts that will regulate so-called ‘complementary medicines (CAMS). The authors point out that “[T]he majority of complementary medicines that were on the market before the General Regulations came into effect, are now under threat and the nature of the industry will change once the new laws are fully implemented”. The important point is made that the Amendments do not change the process of regulation of complementary medicines.

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Complementary Medicines – 2 more guidelines published for comment

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Posted 21 April 2017

Two more complementary medicines/health supplements guidelines have been published for comment by the MCC:

The deadline for comment is 31 May 2017.

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MCC: Two new sets of regulations

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Posted 31 January 2017

The Minister of Health has published two sets of regulations on 27 January 2017

  1. General Regulations to the Medicines and Related Substances Act (GoN 50, GG. 40577, 27 January 2017), for comment by 27 February 20167 according to the gov.za web site, but within 3 months according to the text – http://www.gov.za/sites/www.gov.za/files/40577_gon50.pdf

This is a comprehensive set of proposed regulations to accompany the launch of SAHPRA and allow for the promulgation of the 2008 and 2015 Amendment Acts. The ToC is as follows (and includes 25A. Sub -categories of complementary medicines):

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In the UK Herbex removes its claims; in SA, Herbex takes the ASA to court

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Posted o4 January 2017

In June 2016, a complaint was lodged with the UK Advertising Standards Authority against website claims being made by Herbex in the UK. The claims were that Herbex is a herbal drink that “boosts metabolism, increases energy and controls appetite”. It is likely that, as in South Africa, the UK ASA was provided with evidence based on the botanical substances (ingredients) contained in the product. Herbex then agreed (after negotiation?) to withdraw the claims. This has now been done. The complaint is listed on the UK ASA’s website under “informally resolved cases” at: https://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications.aspx?date=04/01/2017#2 (scroll down to Herbex (PTY) Ltd). The list is prefaced with the following statement: “After consideration by the [UK] ASA of complaints received, the following companies and organisations agreed to amend or withdraw advertising without the need for a formal ruling.”

In South Africa, Herbex was ruled against by the Final Appeal … Read the rest

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Medicines Control Council (MCC): guidelines on complementary medicines

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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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