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Apr 28, 2014

Learn to Manage and Eliminate Allergies


Spring is here and so is the full blown allergy season.  According to the American Academy of Allergy and Asthma Research sixty million people in the US suffer from allergies and this includes forty percent of all children.  


The cost to our society of just treating allergic rhinitis is estimated at over $11 billion.  Allergic disorders include hayfever, allergic rhinitis, eczema and dermatitis. Allergic triggers can include airborne, food and water contaminates such as tobacco smoke, pesticides, heavy metals, pet and pest dander, food allergens, infectious agents such as viral, mold and stress.  When we are exposed to an allergic trigger certain parts of the immune system get over stimulated this results in an over production of inflammatory mediators causing excessive mucous production and thus an allergic reaction.

Once the cascade of immune deregulation is triggered allergic symptoms often develop and once you develop one allergic trait such as eczema, others are likely to follow such as food allergies, asthma and allergic rhinitis.  One of the core principles of naturopathic medicine is that prevention is preferable to treatment whenever possible.  Prevention is always safer, more effective and less expensive.  Ways one can help prevent allergies are eating a healthy diet, eating organic whenever possible, and staying away from foods to which one can be allergic.

There is a clear link between seasonal allergies and food allergies. In some individuals’ allergic rhinitis due to pollens, ragweed and grasses are connected to food allergies. In other words, when you eliminate the individuals food allergies the environmental allergies go away.  And if you do not eliminate the allergic foods the environmental allergies will continue to get worse every year. 

Keeping our immune system healthy by taking a good multiple vitamin is also needed.  Scientific studies complied by the Organic center in May of 2010 show that vitamins A, C and D actually protect us from getting allergies. According to Allergy Clin Immunology June 2009 studies are also showing consistently that the majority of our children today are vitamin D deficient and these children are at an increase risk of developing asthma and other allergies.  To further help prevent allergies in our children breast feeding is also recommended for the first year of life.

With this allergy epidemic upon us the challenge is not to develop more aggressive and costly treatments but to implement more effective preventive strategies.  By determining the cause of your allergies such as a lower immune response, nutritional deficiencies and food allergies one can get rid of allergies altogether.   
Dr. Deborah Wiancek is a naturopathic physician who has a family practice at the Riverwalk Natural Health Clinic & Pharmacy in Edwards, Colorado.  She has been practicing in the Vail Valley for the last sixteen years. To schedule an appointment please call 970-926-7606 or Wiancek@healthref.comwww.healthref.com or www.riverwalknaturalhealth.blogspot.com

Apr 25, 2014

Kapha Dosha













Kapha represents the biological elements of water and earth.  Kapha has the qualities of heavy, cold, wet, slow, steady, soft, smooth, oily, and sweet.  It governs all structure and lubrication in the mind and body.  It controls weight, growth, lubrication for the joints and lungs, and formation of all seven tissues in the body.

Characteristics of Kapha Type
-Solid, heavier build
-Great strength and endurance      
-Slow, methodical in activity
-Oily, smooth skin
-Tranquil, steady personality
-Slow to grasp new information
-Slow to forget (good memory)
-Sleep is heavy and long      

Imbalanced Kapha
Physical Manifestations
-Congested sinuses, nose, throat
-Cough with mucus  
-Sore throat with runny nose
-Frequent colds
-Intolerance to cold and damp       
-Allergies, asthma     
-Diabetes       
-Edema and fluid retention             
-Bloating, nausea, indigestion
-Pale and cold skin   
-Cysts and other growths

Psychological Manifestations
-Lethargy
-Dullness
-Mental inertia
-Oversleeping
-Daytime drowsiness
-Depression
-Lack of motivation
-Procrastination
-Over-attachment
-Greed
-Possessiveness

Guidelines for Balancing Kapha
-Stay warm
-Avoid cold and damp (consider using a dry sauna or doing Bikram yoga)
-Eat a Kapha-reducing diet:
-favor warm, light, dry, spicy foods
-favor bitter, pungent, astringent tastes
-reduce oily, cold, heavy foods
-reduce sweet, salty, and sour tastes
-it is particularly important to reduce sweetness (irrespective of  calories, Kaphas    will gain weight and go out of balance when eating sweet foods)
-prepare fresh meals, avoid leftovers
-avoid eating early in morning  (before 10am) or late at night (after 7pm)
-it is important not to overeat if you are a Kapha type
            -Learn the joy of fasting (seasonally or one day per week)
            -Use herbs and spices that are Kapha-reducing
                        -Heating spices
                        -Trikatu (dry ginger, black pepper, pipilli)
                        -Triphala (amla, bibhitaki, haritaki)
                        -Honey (but no more than 2 tablespoons per day)
                        -Stimulants: green tea, yerba mate’, coffee and black tea (all in moderation)
-Drink only warm fluids and warming herbal teas, in moderation
-Perform a full-body dry massage each morning to stimulate circulation (using gloves or dry loofah)
-Try right nostril breathing exercises (close your left nostril with your index and middle fingers, breathe in and out of the right nostril slowly) (this is heating to the body and raises digestive fire and increases metabolism)
-Engage in regular and vigorous exercise, preferably everyday
-Avoid excessive sleeping and napping during the day
-Break free from old habits, seek variety in life, and accept motivating challenges
-Healing Mantra: “move your body”

Kapha reducing tea is available at Riverwalk Natural Health Clinic & Natural Pharmacy


Apr 18, 2014

Pitta Dosha











Pitta

Pitta represents the biological elements of fire and water.  Pitta has the qualities of hot, moist, light, fluid, sour smelling, sharp, intense, and penetrating.  It governs all heat, metabolism, and transformation in the mind and body.  It controls how we digest foods, ideas, and sensory perceptions.  It governs the all-important digestive agni’s or fires in the body.

Characteristics of Pitta Type
-Moderate build/ muscular                                   
-Tendency of irritability and anger
-Aversion to hot weather                                      
-Good speaker
-Sharp hunger and digestion                                  
-Enterprising, sharp in character
-Can’t skip meals                                                 
-Tendency for reddish complexion, hair, moles, and freckles

Imbalanced Pitta
Physical Manifestations
-Sharply increased hunger or thirst                          
-Increased acidity, heartburn, ulcers
-Intolerance to heat                                                
- Sunburn, sunstroke
-Skin inflammations and rashes                              
-Hot flashes   
-Bloodshot eyes                                                    
-Acne 
-Sour body odors                                                  
-Bad breath
-Rectal burning, hemorrhoids                                  
-Dark yellow feces and urine
Psychological Manifestations
-Anger                                                                    
-Irritability
-Hostile behavior                                                    
-Rage 
-Impatience                                                            
-Criticism (of self/others)
-Arrogant argumentation                                          
-Aggressive, domineering behavior

Guidelines for Balancing Pitta

-Seek coolness in all forms (through diet, herbs, being in nature, keeping thermostat below 70 degrees when you sleep, not lingering in the hot bath too long, etc)  
-Eat a Pitta-reducing diet
-Eat whenever hungry
-Drink Pitta balancing tea, available at the River Walk Natural Health Clinic & Natural Pharmacy
-Use herbs and spices that are Pitta-reducing:
  • Cooling spices
  • Gentian root, mint leaves, mild laxatives (psyllium seed or flax seed)
  • Triphala (amla, bibhitaki, haritaki)
  • Be attentive to taking in only pure food, water, and air (since Pitta is especially sensitive to impurities of any kind)
  • Avoid alcohol and artificial stimulants (both of which are like throwing kerosene on a fire)
  • Avoid strenuous physical exercise or overheating yourself outdoors
  • Take time to wind down from activity; alternating rest and activity is the basic rhythm of life
  • Meditate
  • Try cooling breathing exercises
            1. Open your mouth to form an “O” shape.
2. With your mouth in this position, form a funnel with your tongue and place it between your lips.
3. Slowly inhale through your tongue, swallow the breath, and feel the
breath in your heart.
4. Relax your tongue and mouth, then exhale through your mouth.
5. Repeat this exercise for three minutes, twice daily. 

Healing mantra: “let go”

Apr 17, 2014

New Attention Disorder: Sluggish Cognitive Tempo


More than six million American children have received a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, heightening the concern that the condition is being significantly misdiagnosed and over-treated with prescription medications. Yet an immerging disorder could vastly expand the number of young people being treated for attention issues.  Called sluggish cognitive tempo, the condition is characterized by lethargy, daydreaming and slow mental processing. Researchers estimate it is present in perhaps two million children.
New publications have proposed that recognition of sluggish cognitive tempo could help resolve some longstanding confusion about A.D.H.D, which despite having hyperactivity in its name includes about 2 million children that are not hyperactive, merely inattentive.
“ When you start talking about things like daydreaming, mind-wandering, those types of behaviors, parents with a son or daughter who does this excessively says ‘I know about this from my own experience.’ They know what you’re talking about.” Said Keith Burkett, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California in San Francisco.
Experts pushing for more research into sluggish cognitive tempo say that it is on its way to being recognized as a legitimate disorder. Others including Dr. Allen Frances, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Duke University, are of the opinion that while there are kids that meet the criteria for the disorder, it is not worth further investigation. “The enthusiasts here are thinking of missed patients.  What about the mislabeled kids are called patients when there’s nothing wrong with them? They are not considering what is happening in the real world,” stated Dr. Frances.
Source: NY Times

Allergy Season is upon us. What can you expect?

An allergy is an inappropriate response by the body’s immune system to a substance that is not normally harmful. 


What is an allergy?  An allergy is an inappropriate response by the body's immune system to a substance that is not normally harmful.  In some people, the immune system wrongly identifies a nontoxic substance as an invader, and the white blood cells overreact and do more damage to the body than the invader.

What are common signs and symptoms of environmental allergies? Seasonal nasal congestion, itching, burning eyes, hives, coughing and headaches.

The most common substances that can provoke seasonal allergies in Colorado include? Trees such as Elm, Cottonwood, Cedar, Juniper, Pine and Aspen. And other plants such as ragweed, pollen, thistle, dust and sage.

Other substances that can provoke an allergy include: Nickel, cosmetics, lanolin, animal dander, dust mites, some common drugs such as penicillin, aspirin and sulfa drugs, some food additives such as benzoic acid and sulfites and chemicals found in soap and laundry detergents.

Many people are allergic to molds. Molds can live throughout the house, under the sink and in the bathroom, basement, refrigerator or any dark and damp place. Mold spores are carried in the wind and predominate in the summer and early fall. Cutting grass, harvesting crops or walking through tall vegetation can provoke a reaction.

Foods can also provoke allergic reactions. Some of the most common allergenic foods include chocolate, dairy products, eggs, shellfish, strawberries, citrus fruits, corn, wheat, food additives, preservatives and dyes.

What kind of natural treatments are available for environmental allergies? Dr. Wiancek uses homeopathy to desensitize a person from their specific environmental allergies. She also uses natural anti-inflammatory products and Chinese herbs depending upon how severe the reaction. 

What is the difference between a food intolerances and food allergy? A person with a food intolerance is unable to digest and process food correctly, usually due to a lack of a certain enzyme or enzymes. A food allergy occurs when a person’s immune system generates an antibody response to the injected food. Food intolerances can lead to an allergy, if particles of undigested food manage to enter the bloodstream and cause a reaction.

What are the most common symptoms of food allergies?  There are many symptoms related to food allergies these include:

Recurrent colds, sore throats, chronic tonsillitis, ear infections, ringing and buzzing in the ears, chronic nasal congestion, postnasal drip, Meniere’s syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, ulcerative colitis, gallbladder disease, irritable bowel disease, migraines and other headaches, hives, canker sores, psoriasis, eczema, acne, asthma, frequent urination, teeth grinding, bedwetting, colic, muscle aches, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, unexplained fatigue, anxiety, depression, insomnia, food cravings, obesity etc. Most of these disorders have more than one cause, but food allergy is a relatively common and frequently overlooked cause.

How is a food allergy best diagnosed? Dr. Wiancek uses a blood test, which test 100 different foods to diagnosis food allergy. A person can become allergic to almost any type of food and any combination of foods. Therefore, an accurate diagnosis is important.

Depending on how severe a person’s symptoms are there are different ways to treat food allergies such as desensitizing a person, total elimination and improving digestion. Without treatment our immune system will become depleted and symptoms can become worse over time.

Apr 16, 2014

Vata Dosha












Vata represents the biological elements of air and space.  It has the qualities of dry, cold, light, quick, erratic, rough, unstable and moving. Vata governs all movement in the mind and body.  It controls blood flow, elimination of wastes, breathing, and movement of thoughts across the mind.  Vata governs the other two doshas (pitta and kapha) and so it’s very important to keep Vata in good balance to ensure the other two doshas are not imbalanced.

Characteristics of Vata
- Light, thinner build
-Tendency for dry skin
-Aversion to cold weather
-Tendency toward light and interrupted sleep
- Quick to grasp new information
- Quick to forget
- Irregular hunger and digestion
- Tendency toward constipation

Imbalanced Vata
Physical Manifestations
-Intolerance to wind and cold
-Constipation
-Flatulence, intestinal gas
-Dry skin and chapped lips
-Loss of energy or stamina
-Severe and acute pains
-Joint aches or arthritis
-Back pain, especially low back pain
-Muscle spasms
Psychological Manifestations
-Overactivity of the mind
-Anxiety, inability to relax
-Inability to concentrate
-Worry
-Restlessness
-Depression
-Insomnia
-Fatigue
-Loss of appetite

Guidelines for Balancing Vata
-Get plenty of rest and quiet time (this is all-important for any Vata problem)
-Stay warm
-Eat a Vata-pacifying diet and eat regularly
-Drink lots of warm fluids
-Avoid cold food and drinks
-Use herbs and spices that are Vata-reducing:
  •   Heating spices
  •   Ashwagandha, fresh ginger,   
  •   Triphala (amla, bibhitaki, haritaki)
-Maintain a regular daily routine (mealtimes, bedtimes, etc.)
-Massage your body with sesame oil each morning
-Take a long, warm shower or bath in the morning
-Perform mild exercises (simple yoga stretches, walking, tai chi)
-Avoid mental strain or over-stimulation (loud music, violent movies, long hours of TV or computer, particularly in the evening)
-Make your surroundings light, bright, and cheerful
-Do not drink alcohol, or caffeine while trying to balance Vata
-Healing mantra: “slow down” 

Vata reducing tea is available at The Riverwalk Natural Health Clinic and Natural Pharmacy.  Click here to check out our natural products. 

Vegans Respond ‘Robustly’ to Algal-Derived Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement


New data supports the efficacy of an algal-derived omega-3 supplement to boost EPA and DHA levels.  


In a recent study it was found that while the omega-3 index of vegans is low, it is no lower than the levels measured in omnivores.  The omega-3 index is a measure of the fatty acid levels in red blood cells, and reflects long-term intake of EPA and DHA.  Scientists conclude that a majority of long-term vegans appear to be relatively deficient in DHA and EPA.  Whether or not this results in adverse health consequences is unclear. 
Do vegans need Omega-3s?
According to experts, vegans and lacto-ovo vegetarians (who don’t eat fish) are significantly less likely to develop heart disease than their non-vegetarian counterparts despite their zero or low intakes of EPA and DHA. There is also no evidence that vegans and vegetarians are at higher risk of depression, Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive problems. Researchers attribute the cardio benefits of a vegan diet to the fact that they consume more fiber, less saturated fat, fewer calories, more phytochemicals, and more plant-plant based healthy fats (including the omega fatty acid ALA from walnuts, flaxseed and other sources).
A recent study on the alga-derived omega-3 supplement found that it was successful in raising the omega-3 index in vegans classified as deficient in EPA and DHA.   Supplements were associated with an increase in the omega-3 index from 3.1% to 4.8%. The study did not focus on whether or not omega-3 supplementation is necessary for vegans.

New Study says Trans Fat is Associated with Aggressive Behavior



Trans fats may increase one’s risks of heart disease, sudden death, diabetes- and perhaps even aggression.  



Trans fat has been associated with overt aggressive behavior, impatience and irritability.  Trans fats are basically found only one place in nature: animal fat.  The food industry, however, found a way to synthetically create these toxic fats by hardening vegetable oil in a process called hydrogenation, which rearranges their atoms to make them behave more like animal fats.
Although most of America’s trans fat intake has traditionally come from processed foods containing partially-hydrogenated oils, a fifth of the trans fats in the American diet used to come from animal products- 1.2 grams out of the 5.8 total consumed daily.  Now that trans fat labeling has been mandated, however, and places like New York City have banned the use of partially hydrogenated oils, the intake of industrial-produced trans fat is down to about 1.3, so about 50 percent of America’s trans fats come now from animal products.
Which foods naturally have significant amounts of trans fat?
According to the official USDA nutrient database, cheese, milk, yogurt, burgers, chicken fat, turkey meat, bologna, and hot dogs contain about 1 to 5 percent trans fats (USDA chart).  There are also small amounts of trans fats in non-hydrogenated vegetable oils due to steam deodorization or stripping during the refining process.
Is getting a few percent trans fats a big deal, though?
The most prestigious scientific body in the U.S, the National Academies of Science (NAS), concluded that the only safe intake of trans fats is zero.  In their report condemning trans fats, they couldn’t even assign a Tolerable Upper Daily Limit of intake because any amount increases the risk of coronary heart disease.  There may also be not safe intake of dietary cholesterol, which underscores the importance of reducing animal product consumption. 
There has been debate over whether trans fats found naturally in animal products are as bad at the synthetic fats in partially hydrogenated junk food. The latest study supports the notion that trans fat intake, irrespective of the source increases cardiovascular disease risk, especially, it appears, in women. 

Because trans fats are unavoidable on ordinary, non-vegan diets, getting down to zero percent trans fats would require significant changes in diet for most.  The Director of Harvard’s Cardiovascular Epidemiology Program explained that it would be extreme to recommend a vegetarian diet, however, if science were the only factor being considered, that would be the recommendation.  

Apr 14, 2014

Ayurveda: The Science of Life









Ayurveda is the traditional healing system of India and the sister science of yoga.  It is considered the first form of medicine in the world and has been practiced continuously for over 5,000 years.  The word “ayurveda” literally means the science of life.  It is not only a system of medicine in the conventional sense of diagnosing and treating a disease.  It is a way of living.  It is a unique blend of science and philosophy that teaches us how to balance the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects that are necessary for optimal health.

The wisdom of Ayurveda comes from the Vedas, the oldest and most authoritative sacred texts coming out of India.  The basis of Ayurvedic philosophy is the belief that everything, living and non-living, is composed of the great five elements- namely space, air, fire, water, and earth.  In the human body, these five elements combine into three life-forces called doshas- namely vata, pitta, kapha.  Each of us is born with a unique combination of these doshas that make up our physical and psychological constitution.  When the dosha pattern is balanced, we experience health and well-being.  When the dosha pattern becomes aggravated or imbalanced (due to poor diet, stress, wrong lifestyle, climate changes, etc.), the end result is disease in the body.

Goal of Ayurvedic medicine is to detoxify the body and to rebalance the doshas or life-forces within the body.  The first step is to determine a person’s specific constitution and dosha imbalances.  This is accomplished by taking a complete history, doing a full physical exam (including tongue and pulse diagnosis), and running lab tests as necessary.  With this knowledge, specific herbs, foods, vitamins, exercises, and daily routines, along with cleansing and rejuvenation programs, can be prescribed to restore health to the body, mind, and spirit.

Ayurveda is an invaluable daily practice for creating health and harmony in your body and in your environment.  Once you begin to incorporate Ayurvedic principles into your daily activities, you will begin to see positive benefits in every aspect of your life.

Tips for Families to Prevent Allergies


Our environment is loaded with potential allergy triggers.  While avoiding the outdoors entirely in springtime is not feasible, one should aim to limit exposure to pollen and other common airborne triggers (e.g. tobacco smoke).  Wash off pollen from hands and other exposed areas in peak allergy seasons.



- Keep windows and doors closed during high pollen count times and stay inside on the driest, windiest days to minimize exposure to seasonal allergens. 

- Use high-particulate air (HEPA) filters inside to reduce most airborne contaminants, especially in bedroom locations. 

- In humid areas, use a dehumidifier to limit mold development. 

- Buy allergy-proof bedding, including mattress and pillow case covers, to reduce allergy symptoms, and regularly wash sheets, blankets and pillow cases in hot water.

- Stuffed animals and real animals alike can contribute to allergic rhinitis, so wash them frequently.

- Consider removing carpeting in bedrooms or use area rugs which can be cleaned regularly. 

- Vacuum all carpets and floor surfaces weekly with a HEPA-filter equipped appliance.

- Limit lawn mowing and other gardening activities at peak allergy times; avoid use of chemical pesticides and outdoor products.

- Use environmentally- and health-safe household cleaners.

- Eat healthy, whole organic foods with plenty of anti-inflammatory antioxidants.

- Avoid use of herbal products and foods that can cross react with seasonal allergens; for some people this may include Echinacea species and certain fruits and vegetables (this is known as the “oral allergy syndrome”).

- To prevent allergic disease in babies, consider perinatal avoidance of known food allergens especially if there’s a family history of atopic disease; breastfeeding is known to be protective as         well.

- Try a saline rinse device called a “neti pot” to clear pollen from the nasal cavities.  Even children as young as 2 or 3 years old can be taught how to use one.

- Look into using specific natural health product supplements, like probiotics and essential fatty acids, which may lower your risk of developing allergies.

- Think about taking up a stress-coping technique, like yoga or meditation.

Apr 11, 2014

Vitamin D Deficiency May Be Linked to Heart Disease


Low levels raise odds for clogged arteries, preliminary results suggests.




New research suggests people with lower levels of vitamin D are more likely to suffer coronary artery disease and to have more severe forms of the illness.

The recent findings reflect earlier research indicating that Vitamin D may play a role in preventing heart disease.  The results also indicate that vitamin D deficiency is likely the cause rather than the consequence of atherosclerosis (or clogged arteries), according to study investigator Dr. Monica Verdoia, a cardiologist at Eastern Piedmont University in Novara, Italy.  

Researchers who examined nearly 1,500 patients found that 70 percent of those undergoing angiography, a test used to detect blockages in the arteries, had deficient levels of vitamin D. In a college news release, researchers reported that patients with levels low enough to be considered deficient had a 32 percent greater risk of coronary artery disease and an almost 20 percent greater risk of the most severe level of disease.
More than half of U.S adults, especially blacks and Hispanics, get too little vitamin D, according to the news release. It is recommended that those without cardiovascular disease consume a diet rich in vitamin D and exercise outdoors moderately.


Source: American College of Cardiology, news release March 27, 2014

Apr 4, 2014

Primavera Vegetables



"Serve as a side dish or use to top fish, chicken or cooked spaghetti sauce."







Ingredients

2 medium zucchini, sliced
·         2 stalks celery, diagonally sliced
·         1 red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
·         1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into strips
·         ½  green pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
·         1 ½ cup broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
·         2 tablespoons olive oil
·         3-4 garlic cloves, sliced
·         ¾ cup fresh or 3 tablespoons dried basil leaves
·         1 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, slightly chopped
·         1 (15 oz.) can fire-roasted or regular crushed or diced tomatoes
·         Celtic Sea Salt and pepper to taste
·         Parmesan cheese (post-purification only if recommended by your health care professional, sprinkle sparingly)

Directions

Prepare all the vegetables.  Heat pan or wok over high heat.  Add olive oil and sliced garlic.  Stir fry 1 to 2 minutes.  Add zucchini, celery, and broccoli while constantly stirring just until the vegetables soften, approximately 6-7 minutes.  Add the peppers, basil, parsley, salt, pepper, and entire can of tomatoes.  Cover and reduce heat to medium high for 2-3 minutes. 
Remove from heat and sprinkle with parmesan cheese (post-purification only).  Serve as a side dish or use to top fish, chicken, or cooked and shredded spaghetti squash.  

Apr 2, 2014

Pfizer Issues Nationwide Recall of Antidepressant


A voluntary nationwide recall of 3 different lots of the antidepressant venlafaxine (Effexor, Pfizer Inc) has been issued by the drug’s manufacturer owing to possible contamination with a heart drug and subsequent potentially fatal consequences.

According to Pfizer, the action in being taken because 1 bottle of Effexor XR contained a single capsule of dolefetilide 0.25 mg, an antiarrhythimic medication used to treat atrial fibrillation/atrial flutter and maintain normal sinus rhythm.  The probability that other bottles of Effexor XR have been similarly contaminated is low the recall has been issued as a precaution.

“The use of Tikosyn by an Effexor XR/Venlafaxine HCl patient, where the contraindications and drug-drug interactions with Tikosyn have not been considered by the prescribing physician, could cause serious adverse health consequences that could be fatal,” the company notes.  Side effects of Tikosyn include torsade de pointes, which can lead to death.  Pfizer advises patients who believe they may have mistakenly ingested Tikosyn instead of Effexor XR/venlafaxine HCl to immediately contact their physician or hospital.   Patients should also watch for signs of abnormal heartbeat and inform their physician or hospital if they experience any of the following: faintness, dizziness, rapid heartbeat.

Wholesalers, distributors, certain government agencies, patient assistance programs, and retailers including pharmacies and hospitals with product that is being recalled should stop distribution and promptly return the product to Stericycle Inc.  The company advises these organizations to contact Styricycle at 1-888-345-0481 for instructions on returning product.  Patients should contact their physician or healthcare provider if they have experienced any problems that may be related to taking this drug.