Health Canada says it will be reviewing the safety of a drug ball workout, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
It’s one of the first of many steps it will take to determine if the drug ball workouts work, said Dr. Jennifer Todar, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Centre for Health Research and Policy.
“We are taking a long look at the data that we have, and it may be that some of the benefits of this treatment are associated with other potential adverse effects,” Todaro said.
“But we’re not going to get into the weeds and make recommendations.”
The drug ball program started in 2013 and is designed to help people with chronic skin conditions manage the appearance of a red patch.
It has been in the news recently after a study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that linked it to increased risk of developing a rare form of skin cancer.
It also led to a recommendation for an increased use of sunscreen.
“There are a number of concerns with this drug ball regimen, but it’s not a new phenomenon and it’s one that we’re actively looking into,” Toda said.
“And, of course, there are some of our patients who may be more sensitive to certain types of medication and that’s why we’re doing this study.”
In a written statement, Health Canada said the agency is aware of the study and is working closely with the patient advocacy group SARE.
It said the drug balls program is being conducted as part of the Canada First-Year Health Care Study.
“This study is being designed to assess the safety and efficacy of this medication ball regimen for people with skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, eczematous polyps and psoropharyngitis,” it said.
Todaro confirmed that research will be conducted, but said the safety data will not be released until a follow-up study is done to confirm the effectiveness of the drug regimen.TODAR said that once the safety assessment is complete, it will make a decision about whether to continue to administer the drug treatment.
Toda said there are currently about 300,000 people in Canada who are on the drug program.
She said some of those people may be particularly sensitive to medication balls and may need to wait until they are older to get treatment.
“They may not have a full spectrum of conditions so this is a very specific and specific group that needs this drug, so we’re really hoping that as we’re conducting this follow-on study, we can identify a way to address their needs,” Todsaro said