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Edwards L.,Medical Research Institute of New Zealand MRINZ | Jefferies S.,Medical Research Institute of New Zealand MRINZ | Healy B.,Medical Research Institute of New Zealand MRINZ | Weatherall M.,University of Otago | And 2 more authors.
New Zealand Medical Journal | Year: 2011

Aim There is currently no specific legislation to regulate either complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) products or the majority of those promoting them. This study sought to highlight the general risk a consumer may face when they seek help/advice from a pharmacy or health food store (HFS). Methods 21 HFS, matched with pharmacies, were visited by a researcher complaining of tiredness, who stated he had been taking warfarin over the previous 2 months. The name, manufacturer and retail price of any products recommended were recorded immediately after leaving the premises. Paired contingency table analysis was used. Results A pharmacy was significantly more likely to advise the consumer to consult a doctor (13/21) than a HFS (3/21) with a difference in marginal proportions of 47.6% (95%CI 22.5-72.7), p=0.006. A HFS was more likely to recommend more products, and only about one-quarter gave appropriate advice regarding possible interactions with warfarin and management of anticoagulation compared with two-thirds of pharmacies. Conclusion To provide safe and quality advice to consumers, those promoting CAM products need to obtain relevant history and give accurate information regarding possible dug interactions and be prepared to refer back to mainstream medical services. Better regulation of CAM products and those promoting them is called for. © NZMA. Source


Jefferies S.,Medical Research Institute of New Zealand MRINZ | Healy B.,Medical Research Institute of New Zealand MRINZ | Weatherall M.,University of Otago | Beasley R.,Medical Research Institute of New Zealand MRINZ | Shirtcliffe P.,Medical Research Institute of New Zealand MRINZ
New Zealand Medical Journal | Year: 2012

Aim Potential risks to mother and foetus exist with the incorrect use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) products during pregnancy. This study aimed to identify the risks that a woman may face when seeking advice during pregnancy from pharmacies and health food stores (HFS) in Greater Wellington (New Zealand). Methods 21 HFS and 21 geographically-matched pharmacies were visited by a researcher who sought advice regarding vitamin supplementation and nausea in early pregnancy using a standardised scenario. Any advice given, including details of recommended products, was documented immediately upon leaving the premises. Proportions were obtained and paired contingency table analysis was used to examine the agreement between the matched pairs. Results A minority of pharmacies (5/21, 23.8%) and HFS (1/21, 4.8%) made primary recommendations for nausea which were supported by Ministry of Health (MOH) guidelines, and both pharmacies (14/21, 66.7%) and HFS (7/21, 33.3%) recommended products contrary to these guidelines. A greater proportion of pharmacies gave advice consistent with MOH recommended dosage of folic acid supplementation than HFS (20/21, 95.2% vs 10/21, 47.6%). 2/21 (9.5%) of pharmacies and 4/21 (19%) of HFS gave advice with a potential risk of vitamin A overdose. Conclusions Pharmacies and HFS in Greater Wellington provided potentially hazardous advice, recommending products, often branded for pregnancy, which contradicted NZ MOH guidelines. Regulatory reform of CAM products and those who sell them is called for in New Zealand. © Nzma. Source

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