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Update: Walmart/milk/growth hormones, Carbamazepine/Tegretol problems

Walmart/milk/growth hormones:

A news release from the U.S states that consumer demand has caused Walmart to provide only growth hormone free milk in its private label brand Great Value milk. This is a win for many reasons. It shows that if consumers demand it, big business will provide it. It also shows us that consumers are becoming more conscious about the environment and what we put into our bodies. I do not know if these changes apply to Canadian stores, but I am hopeful. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that milk from cows treated with artificial growth hormones poses no risk to human health. Now I love science and evidence-based medicine, but some times I think that we just need to use common sense instead of relying on clinical trials and experiments.

Carbamazepine and serious skin reactions:

Health Canada has warned that carbamazepine (aka Tegretol), a drug used to treat epilepsy, mania, bipolar disorder and facial conditions like trigeminal neuralgia, has the potential of causing serious skin reactions.

It appears that people of Asian descent have a greater risk of developing these skin reactions. A genetic test is available that can identify a genetic marker in patients of Asian ancestry that are at an increased risk.

Reported cases of "Serious and sometimes fatal skin reactions known as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis have been known to occur very rarely with carbamazepine," reads the advisory. "While all patients treated with carbamazepine are at risk of these skin reactions, the risk is approximately 10 times higher in Asian countries than in Western countries."

If you experience any signs of serious skin reactions such as a rash, red skin, blistering of the lips, eyes or mouth, or peeling skin accompanied by a fever, please consult your doctor immediately. Otherwise, it is not advisable to stop treatment without consulting your doctor.

The following are generic carbamazepine-containing products, with their makers in brackets, are sold in Canada:

  • Apo-carbamazepine (Apotex Inc.).
  • Bio-carbamazepine (Biomed 2002 Inc.).
  • Carbamazepine (Pro Doc).
  • Dom-carbamazepine (Dominion Pharmacal).
  • Gen-carbamazepine (Genpharm ULC).
  • Mazepine (Valeant Canada Ltd.).
  • Novo-carbamaz (Novopharm Ltd.).
  • Nu-carbamazepine (Nu-Pharm Inc.).
  • PHL-carbamazepine (Pharmel Inc.).
  • PMS-carbamazepine (Pharmascience Inc.).
  • Sandoz-carbamazepine (Sandoz Canada Inc.).
  • Taro-carbamazepine (Taro Pharmaceuticals Inc.).
  • Tegretol (Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.).

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