“Did you know that the time of day when you take your blood pressure medication might be important? The University of Alberta is leading BedMed, a Canada-wide blood pressure study, to answer important questions on treatment for high blood pressure. With your help, we can find out.” (Bedmed Facebook Page.)
Health Canada is modernizing its approach to disclosing clinical information on drugs and medical devices to support advances in medical science and help improve patient care. Today, Health Canada published draft regulations in Canada Gazette l that propose to make clinical information in drug and medical device submissions publicly available after the Department has completed its regulatory review process.
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Many of us take over-the-counter medication on a regular basis. Due in part to the fact that these medications are available without prescription and are taken so freely and frequently, it is not uncommon for their side effects to be ignored and/or indeed unknown to us. Unfortunately, this lack of knowledge can have serious consequences. For example, in a 2006 FDA report, approximately 46,000 emergency room visits/year were related to acetaminophen overdoses.
In a recent online article found on huffingtonpost.ca, some popular medications and their side effects are identified. If you have not already read it, you may wish to do so. As Stephanie Hallett, the article’s author states, “Potentially serious side effects for popular medications are more common than you may think.”
With the cold and flu season upon us, flu shot clinics have sprung up in a number of locations, including grocery stores, pharmacies and in shopping malls. Related to these clinics are the discussions and debates around the topic of immunization and vaccination. Should a person get a flu shot? What are the risks of getting a flu shot? What are the risks associated with not getting one? Below is a tweet that contained statistics from the US concerning immunization and vaccination.
— Disease Symptoms (@DiseaseSymptom) May 10, 2014
The Government of Canada has also developed the Canadian Immunization Guide that provides information about immunization. In addition, there are numerous websites, including New Health Advisor, which discuss the pros and cons of vaccinations and immunization. One thing for sure, there is no shortage of information concerning vaccination and immunization debate. On which side of the debate do you fall?
Antibiotic resistance is becoming a growing concern. One need only consider the strain of bacteria that contains genes which show no effect to colisitin, the “antibiotic of last resort,” to recognize the threat that exists. According to John Gums, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Professor of Pharmacy and Medicine at the University of Florida, there are a number of reasons that antibiotic resistance has occurred, one of which is inappropriate prescribing. While the solution to this situation is clear – doctors need to stop prescribing so many antibiotics – there are other factors at work. As Gums explains:
I believe there are two reasons inappropriate prescribing is so hard to curb. First, there is a philosophical disconnect between the data about antibiotic resistance and what drives prescriber behavior. The second is that physicians may bend to patient demand for antibiotics, even if the physician knows it won’t help or isn’t really needed.
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Do drug manufacturers know the effects their products have on our bodies? While we may assume that they do, according to Luke Timmerman and Meg Tirrell, this is not necessarily the case. Click here to listen to their podcast