All posts by Scott Gavura

Pharmacy and homeopathy: Will the profession change, or will change be forced upon it?

Retail pharmacy is giving itself a credibility problem. While pharmacists are highly trusted health professionals, there are increasing questions about the products sold in pharmacies. Many of the non-prescription products that you can find aren’t backed by good evidence. And the number of dubious products seems to be growing. Homeopathy is an extreme example. Homeopathic “remedies” look like conventional medicine, but unlike...

/ August 11, 2016
A new study examined 26 Traditional Chinese Medicine products and determined that 90 per cent were unfit human consumption.

Should you try a “natural alternative” before medication?

The idea of taking medication can be frightening. And as consumers and patients that want to make our own informed health decisions, it’s understandable and even appropriate to question our physicians when they recommend drug treatments. We need to understand the rationale for any medication that’s recommended or prescribed, the benefits of therapy, the side effects, and if there are any other...

/ July 14, 2016

A systematic review about nothing

There is dubious content in PubMed that you won’t find unless you look for it, or stumble across it inadvertently. It’s the entire field of alternative medicine which is abstracted and complied along with the actual medical literature. In this world, the impossible is accepted as fact, and journal articles focus on the medical equivalent of counting angels on pinheads. I’ve been...

/ June 30, 2016
Is Vitamin D a panacea? The evidence says otherwise.

The rise and inevitable fall of Vitamin D

It’s been difficult to avoid the buzz about vitamin D over the past few years. While it has a  long history of use in the medical treatment of osteoporosis, a large number of observational studies have linked low vitamin D levels to a range of illnesses. The hypothesis that there is widespread deficiency in the population has led to interest in measuring...

/ June 23, 2016

Fooling Myself

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool. –Richard Feynman I like to think of myself as a rational person, but I’ve been fooled by my own experience again and again. I’ve made bad decisions and wasted time and money believing what I was seeing, instead of being objective and looking...

/ June 2, 2016

Where science meets supplements

For those of you that missed the Science-Based Medicine day at NECSS last week, I’ve put the highlights in the following post: The supplement industry is big business, and the popularity of these products seems to keep growing. I once worked at a small independent pharmacy that specialized in supplements, homeopathy and “alternative medicine” as way to differentiate itself from the big...

/ May 19, 2016

Is there a naturopathic standard of care?

Public outcry over the death of Ezekiel Stephan, the 19-month-old Alberta toddler who died of bacterial meningitis in 2012, continues to grow following last’s weeks court decision, which found both of his parents guilty of failing to provide the necessaries of life. David and Collet Stephan failed to seek appropriate medical care for their obviously-ill child, instead relying on a variety of...

/ May 5, 2016

The Brown M&M’s of Science-Based Medicine

Medicine is constantly changing, and like most health professionals, I am required to maintain my competency to practice. I doubt pharmacists are unique in being inundated with offers of continuing medical/pharmacy education. Some courses are free, some cost hundreds of dollars, and it can be difficult to distinguish the high-quality programs from the biased or low-quality education that furthers a agenda, rather...

/ April 21, 2016
In rosuvastatin we trust?

Statins for everyone? Not so fast.

People love the idea of preventive medicine. Preventing a disease, before it occurs, seems intuitively obvious. But when it comes to taking medicine to prevent a disease before it occurs, people tend to be much less comfortable. Not only are there the concerns about the “medicalization” of healthy people, there are good questions about benefits, risks, and costs. Cardiovascular disease will kill...

/ April 7, 2016
Will this help you recover from exercise?

More drugs, more supplements, and potentially more problems

Early in my career I was fortunate to be offered a role as a hospital pharmacist, working on an inpatient ward along with physicians, nurses, and a number of other health professionals. My responsibilities included conducting a detailed medication review with each newly admitted patient. We would sit together, often with family members, going through what was sometimes a literal garbage bag...

/ March 24, 2016