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NIHSeniorHealth Web Site Adds CAM Information
Visitors to nihseniorhealth, the national institutes of Health (NIH) web site designed especially for older adults, now have the opportunity to learn about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
Older adults who go to http://nihseniorhealth.gov/cam/toc.html will find easy-to-understand information on the basics of CAM, as well as useful tips on how to be an informed consumer, choose a CAM practitioner, and talk candidly with their doctor about CAM use.
NIHSeniorHealth is a joint effort of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM). The site is based on the latest research on cognition and aging. It features short, easy-to-read segments of information that can be accessed in a number of formats, including various large-print type sizes, open-captioned videos, and an audio version. Topics coming soon to the site include dry eye and substance abuse among older adults.
CAM Conference to Be Held May 12-15 in Minneapolis
The north american research conference on Complementary & Integrative Medicine will be held in Minneapolis, MN, May 12-15, 2009. This conference is sponsored by the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM), which consists of 42 leading academic medical centers from across North America. This is a follow-up to the first conference presented in Edmonton, Alberta, in May 2006, which was itself the third in a series of international meetings initially co-sponsored by Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Francisco.
The North American Research Conference on Complementary & Integrative Medicine is international in scope and invites and encourages the submission of scientific abstracts and proposals for sessions from corporate scientists, academic researchers, educators, and health care providers worldwide.
The conference will showcase original scientific complementary, alternative, and integrative medical research (CAIM) through keynote and plenary presentations, oral and poster presentations, and innovative scientific sessions. Areas of CAIM research presented and discussed at this conference will include: research in basic science, clinical research, methodological research, health services research, and education research.
The goal of the directors of this conference is to provide a single event that attracts a critical mass of cutting-edge, peer-reviewed science, and discussion in the broad field of complementary and integrative medical research, organizers say. "The conference invites and benefits enormously from collaboration with many major professional organizations, publishers, and grant-ing agencies, which focus on aspects of the CAIM field. Events throughout the four-day meeting are designed to foster the development of new collaborations and to strengthen existing partnerships."
FDA Warning Expands to Include 69 Weight-loss Products
The FDA expanded an alert to consumers about weight-loss supplements that contain undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients and/or natural or herbal ingredients. Many of the weight-loss products analyzed contain potentially harmful ingredients that are not listed on product labels or in promotional materials. On Dec. 22, 2008, FDA warned consumers about 28 weight-loss products. Since that time, FDA analysis identified 41 additional tainted weight-loss products that may jeopardize consumers' health. A list of these products can be found at: www.FDA.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2008/NEW01933.html. The recent analysis found that the following active pharmaceutical ingredients, often in amounts far exceeding FDA recommended levels, were present in some of these products:
Sibutramine, a controlled substance that can cause high blood pressure, seizures, tachycardia, palpitations, heart attack, or stroke;
Rimonabant, a drug not approved for marketing in the United States; in Europe, the drug has been associated with increased risk of depression and suicidal thoughts;
Phenytoin, an antiseizure medication;
Phenolphthalein, a solution used in chemical experiments and a suspected cancer-causing agent;
Bumetanide, a diuretic.
Many of the weight-loss supplements are promoted and sold on various web sites and in retail stores. Although some of the products claim to be "natural" or to contain only "herbal" ingredients, they actually contain potentially harmful ingredients not stated on the product labels or in promotional advertisements. The products are not FDA-approved and may be potentially harmful to unsuspecting consumers.
"These tainted weight-loss products pose a great risk to public health because they contain undeclared ingredients and, in some cases, contain prescription drugs in amounts that greatly exceed their maximum recommended dosages," said Janet Woodcock, MD, director, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, FDA. "Consumers have no way of knowing that these products contain powerful drugs that could cause serious health consequences. Therefore FDA is taking this action to protect the health of the American public."
FDA has inspected many of the companies associated with the sale of these illegal products, and currently is seeking product recalls (see below). Based on the FDA's inspections and the companies' inadequate responses to recall requests, if necessary, FDA may take additional enforcement steps, such as issuing warning letters or initiating seizures, injunctions, or criminal charges.
Information for consumers can be found at: www.FDA.gov/cder/consumerinfo/weight_loss_products.htm.
FDA Warns Against Taking Venom HYPERDRIVE 3.0
The FDA is warning consumers not to take venom HYPERDRIVE 3.0, a product sold as a dietary supplement and containing sibutramine. Sibutramine, a controlled substance with risks for abuse or addiction, poses potential safety risks. Sibutramine can substantially increase blood pressure and heart rate, and may present a significant risk for people with a history of heart disease, heart failure, irregular heart beats, or stroke, according to Janet Woodcock, MD, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
Venom HYPERDRIVE 3.0 is marketed by Applied Lifescience Research Industries (ALR Industries), Oak View, CA. On Dec. 24, 2008, ALR Industries initiated a recall of all lots of Venom HYPERDRIVE 3.0 after the FDA laboratory analysis showed samples of the product contained undeclared sibutramine. Although ALR Industries claims on its web site that only "trace amounts" of sibutramine were found in this product, the FDA laboratory tests showed that Venom HYPERDRIVE 3.0 contains a significant amount of sibutramine per dosage unit.
The product was sold via distributors and in retail stores nationwide as well as in Canada, Poland, Sweden, Hungary, South Africa, the Netherlands, Australia, France, and the United Kingdom. The product was packaged in red plastic bottles containing 90 capsules each with the UPC# 094922534743.
Consumers who have this product should stop taking it immediately and contact their health care professional if they have experienced any adverse effects. Consumers can contact the company at email@example.com to receive further instructions for returning the product and to ask any questions. Health care professionals and consumers may report serious adverse events or product quality problems with the use of this product to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either on-line: www.FDA.gov/medwatch/report/hcp.htm; by fax: (800) FDA-1078; or by phone: (800) FDA-1088.