MedEffect e-Notice from Health Canada | Fibristal and Risk of Serious Liver Injury

Fibristal is a selective progesterone receptor modulator (SPRM) manufactured by Allergan Pharma Co. which is prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe non-cancerous uterine fibroids. On March 15, 2018, Health Canada released a new MedEffect Notice indicating that, effective January 2018, Allergan Pharma Co. had updated its monograph for Fibristal to include warnings of potential severe liver damage requiring liver transplant.

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A Tribute to Lorna Hancock

We  you, Lorna!

Grassroots activism to protect the rights and privilege of Canadians to choose natural health products and practices is not new. HANS (Health Action Network Society), established 38 years ago, organized a tribute dinner to celebrate the tireless work of its founding member and director, Lorna Hancock, on March 16, 2018 in Vancouver. Lorna has dedicated most of her life to natural health awareness and freedom. In fact, she was at the first meeting with groups across Canada when the Charter of Health Freedom was unveiled. She has supported it ever since. Lorna sat on NHPPA’s Board and remains a trusted advisor and friend. Flowers and a letter of gratitude were sent to let her know the influence she has had on NHPPA’s work over the last 10 years.

Read NHPPA’s letter to Lorna Hancock and her warm response

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In Narrative Therapy, Maori Creation Stores are Being Used to Heal, Stuff (New Zealand)

When culture becomes medicine. On March 9, 2018, Michelle Duff of New Zealand’s Stuff website wrote a piece (8 minute read), “In Narrative Therapy, Maori Creation Stories are Being Used to Heal”. Ms. Duff reports on a form of mental health treatment called “Mahi a Atua” which uses tales from Maori creation mythology help heal the trauma of European colonization of the Polynesian people who first settled in New Zealand between 1250 and 1300. The therapy is making a difference, with urgent requests for traditional psychiatric treatment for Maori youth decreasing by 50% within the first six months of the program.

“For many Maori, traditional mental health settings are intimidating. It’s almost like mental health services are way of colonizing people again. You come in, you’re disconnected from your land, your culture, and your language. You can’t articulate values that are part of your ancestry.”

Contemporize this concept to meet the ideologies of Western individualism. One’s deeply personal experience with illness and subsequent treatment should rest in the informed choices most resonant to our beliefs.

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Remembering Shiv Chopra

“Personally, I have lost one of my heroes. I first had the honour of meeting Shiv when we were both on a panel at a health show. As the years went by, I had the pleasure of getting to know him better. The more I got to know Shiv, the more I respected him. I was always struck by the depth of his integrity. Lately, there have been too few who are willing to sacrifice to stand up for what they believe is right. Shiv was one of the few.” – Shawn Buckley

On February 24, 2018, Dr. Shiv Chopra was remembered in a celebration of life event hosted by the Canadian Council on Food Safety and Health in Ottawa. NHPPA’s Executive Director has a copy of Shiv’s book “Corrupt to the Core” in which Shiv inscribed, “We Shall Succeed”. It is appropriate to reflect on these words. He set the example for us by standing up for what was right. Let’s honour the author by following in his footsteps. We miss you, Shiv.

 

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“Does the Herbal Supplement Kratom Really Contain Opioids?”, LiveScience

In this February 7, 2018 article (4 minute read), “Does the Herbal Supplement Kratom Really Contain Opioids?”, published by LiveScience, we learn about recent US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) research showing that many of the natural compounds found in Kratom bind to opioid receptors in the brain, which then classify the plant as a restricted substance. Last summer, NHPPA received a letter from a Kratom advocate. It shared a number of considered thoughts including a reference to an upswing in fear-based media coverage in both Canada and the US surrounding the use of Kratom products, and a report that retailers who offered Kratom were being intimidated into forfeiting sales of the supplement through unannounced visits by Health Canada. In the letter, NHPPA was asked if we had a stance on the use of Kratom as a natural health supplement. We were unfamiliar with the tree native to Southeast Asia, where its leaves have traditionally been used to treat aches, pains and other maladies. Any informed thoughts on Kratom out there?

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Canada’s Greenest Employers (2017)

Commitment to social and environmental responsibility is increasingly central to an organization’s development. Canada’s Greenest Employers runs a yearly competition to recognize leaders in creating a culture, of not only environmental awareness, but impact in social, cultural, financial and educational programs. Many focus on the physical work space, training and skills development, hiring strategies, diversity and an area resonate with our work–immersive wellness initiatives and the promotion of natural health product and practices. Every 2017 winner has their own webpage with the full rationale behind their selection. Worth a look. You’ll be motivated and inspired to raise the bar! Make a list of “green” questions so that local, independent spaces thriving in communities across Canada, deserve a chance to attract your dollars with values that match your own.

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MedEffect e-Notice from Health Canada | Nintedanib vs Green Tea Extract

On January 11, 2018, Health Canada released a MedEffect Notice regarding OFEV (Nintedanib), a drug manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd., which is used for the treatment of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibroses (a type of lung disease). The drug, released October 16, 2014, has been flagged due to risk of Drug Induced Liver Injury (DILI). According to the Alert, as of October 15, 2017 (after 3 years on the market), there have been 32 confirmed cases of DILI worldwide, one of which occurred in Canada. There has also been 1 confirmed fatality caused by the drug.

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“Studying Studies: Part II – Observational Epidemiology”, Peter Attia, MD

“…there is so much more to the ways in which we might fool ourselves: whether it’s reading the latest headline, pouring over a publication of a clinical trial, or just understanding what “statistical significance” truly means (and, more importantly, doesn’t mean), the literature and media abound in cognitive tripwires.”

This January 15, 2018 article (8 minute read) by Peter Attia, MD, “Studying Studies: Part II – observational epidemiology”, is the follow up to his January 8, 2018 article, “Studying Studies: Part I – relative risk vs. absolute risk”, which we shared on January 15, 2018.

 

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“Studying Studies: Part I – Relative Risk vs. Absolute Risk”, Peter Attia, MD

“Statistics can be both persuasive and misleading if we’re not extremely careful. It is self-persuasion that we must vigilantly guard against if we want to establish reliable knowledge about the world, and ourselves”. This January 8, 2018 article, “Studying Studies: Part I – relative risk vs. absolute risk” (8 minute read), by Peter Attia, a US-based medical doctor specializing in the applied science of longevity, discusses the challenges in making sense of media coverage of scientific studies, and the importance of taking the time to question their validity.

Attia writes, “It’s too damn hard to always think critically—and we are not wired to do it as humans—but we must always strive for it. Whether we like it or not, it’s more helpful to be “difficult” people when judging the merits of an argument or hypothesis—even (especially) when it’s our own. It behooves us to understand the difference between relative risk and absolute risk—and to always report both to provide context.”

Critical thinking, opinion, context, facts. If you take a bit of time to understand the parameters of an argument, however polarized a point of view from yours it is, the ability to have meaningful discussions increases exponentially. NHPPA asks supporters of natural health products and practices to read and understand the material that we publish and how it relates to the material being generated by Health Canada. This makes for accurate, and influential, exchanges with your MP, Health Canada bureaucrats, industry members, friends, colleagues and of course your detractors. Your authority on the subject will make you more effective as an educator and activist for the issues that matter.

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