Posts Tagged ‘human papillomavirus’

HPV Vaccine – Should you Consent?

By Barret Procyshyn, Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

 

 I work with a lot of mothers at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy. Some recent discussion has been about the HPV vaccine. Recently letters and consent forms were sent out to all parents of grade six girls from the public health nurses. The province is offering all Grade Six girls the human papillomavirus vaccine or HPV Vaccine. There is some unease, controversy and a lot of questions about the vaccine because of what it protects against.

 

HPV is a virus of over 100 types. There are about 15 types which are known to be high risk, causing pre-cancerous lesions and cervical cancer. Over 99% of cervical cancer is caused by persistent HPV infection. Most of these are sexually transmitted. InManitoba, there are up 50 cases per year of cervical cancer alone, causing approximately 15 deaths annually. The HPV infection, which cannot be cured, has also been linked to oral cancer and anal cancer. HPV is also responsible for genital warts. As you can see this is not the easiest topic to discuss, but it is an important one!

 

The immunization is a series of three needles. They will take place in October, December and in the spring. All parents must either consent or not consent to the vaccine.  Controversy for the HPV vaccine arises because we are giving a vaccine to girls to prevent a sexually transmitted virus at a young age. However; Grade 6 was chosen because it provides protection for the future. Studies show Canadians become sexually active around the age of 15 and 50% will contract some type of HPV virus in their lifetime.

 

While the vaccine only provides coverage against four types of HPV, these strains account for almost 70% of cervical cancer cases and 90% of genital warts. New vaccines must show effectiveness in studies before they are approved. Studies were performed in which females received the vaccine and some received no vaccine. While it was unethical to wait to see if the females who did not receive the vaccine develop more cancer, scientists were able to see the vaccine did a very good job of preventing precursors to cancer.

 

 

 

 

Short term data gives us every reason to believe the vaccine is safe. Over 35 million does of the HPV vaccine have been given, with very few adverse effects. In original drug trials people who received the vaccine did not have any more significant side effects than the people who received placebo. We do not believe the vaccine has any long term effects, but because it is fairly new, we are unable to give a definite answer. The most common side effects from the vaccine are mild. They include pain, swelling and redness in the area where the needle was given.

 

Just because your daughter receives the vaccine does mean they are 100% protected. Regular physicals and pap tests are still recommended. HPV infections occur without any symptoms and the progression of the HPV virus to cancerous cells often has no symptoms. Regular health checks are essential.

 

If you or a family member have not received the vaccine and are interested in it you should speak to your family physician. You can obtain the vaccine with a prescription and it is indicated in females between the ages of 9 and 26. Most private insurance programs will pay a portion of the three injections. The U.S. FDA has now approved the vaccine for males between the ages of 9 and 26 for the prevention of genital warts. Currently there is not indication for males inCanada. Further studies are being done to see if there is additional benefit.

 

Anytime we can prevent illness in our children we usually try and do it!  Ultrasounds are performed to ensure the baby is healthy. We inject vaccines as tiny babies in hope of preventing a disease. We lined them up for the swine flu vaccine when the threat was present. We give them Tylenol when a fever develops, in hope it does not progress. Anytime we decide to act, there is a small risk involved. However; the potential benefit of preventing a serious problem outweighs the small risk. As a parent you need to weigh the small risks of the HPV vaccine versus the potential benefit. I think it will make the choice that much easier.

 

 

We are always looking for new ideas for these articles.  If you have any topic suggestions, please email us at dcp@mymts.net.

 

The information in this article is intended as a helpful guide only.  It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice.  If you have any questions about your medications and what is right for you see your doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional.

 

We now have this and most other articles published in the Parkland Shopper on our Website.  Please visit us at www.dcp.ca

HPV Vaccine – Should you Consent?-Audio

By Barret Procyshyn.  Recorded by the nice people at 730 CKDM, The Parkland’s Best Music

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Warts 101

By Barret Procyshyn, Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

As a child do you remember the warning that if you touch or kiss a toad you might develop a wart? Well contrary to popular folk tales, it is purely a myth. Warts are actually caused by HPV, the human papillomavirus. HPV penetrates and infects the outer skin cells, usually via a small cut or abrasion on the skin. The time from the virus entering the skin to you noticing the developing wart may vary anywhere from a few weeks to months. A wart can develop and grow on the fingernails, fingers, backs of hands, arms and legs. A wart is recognizable by its cauliflower like surface appearance. Plantar warts, which grow on the bottom of the feet, are often grey or brown in color. It may appear as though there is a black dot in the centre of the plantar wart. Warts are not dangerous. They are just very annoying, irritating and most consider them to be very ugly.

Plantar warts usually develop where our feet touch the floor. The virus can survive on floors, so it is a good idea to wear some type of footwear where other people may be in bare feet. This includes gyms, change rooms, communal showers and swimming areas. Besides putting on a pair of flip flops it is always a good idea to wear clean socks and shoes, while keeping the feet clean and dry.

Between 20% and 30% of warts will heal in the first 6 months, due to our body’s immune function fighting the virus. About 65% will disappear within two years. Although it is good news your body can take care of a wart on its own, two years is quite a long time to wait. Most of us want to speed up the healing process.

There are some good products available without a prescription. Most wart treatment products contain the active ingredient salicylic acid in varying concentrations. It works by slowly “eating” away at the affected skin. Products include Duoforte, Duofilm and Compound W. They are available in liquids, gels and even in pads or bandages which cover the wart. Treatment can sometimes take up to 12 weeks to work, but there are some things you can do to speed up elimination of the wart. Soak the affected area in warm water for 10 minutes and rub away the loose tissue with a pumice stone. After applying the medication cover the treated area with waterproof tape.

There are also products which “freeze” off the wart. These cryotherapy products come as a container of gases, that when mixed, make a very cold chemical reaction. You freeze the “wart” using the product until it falls off. Sometimes multiple treatments are needed. A blister may form and the hope is the wart falls off with healthy skin behind it. Generally these products are safe. However; they should not be used by people who have diabetes or poor circulation unless approved by a physician or pharmacist.

There is also the duct tape treatment theory. In 2002 a medical trial showed duct tape helped to clear 85% of warts which was actually better than any other treatment option. The wart was soaked in water, scrubbed with a pumice stone and then covered with a piece of duct tape for 6 days. The process was repeated until the wart cleared. It is a medical mystery as there is no understanding how duct tape actually works to clear the wart.

Physicians use liquid nitrogen in their office to try rid of stubborn warts. This involves several treatments every 2-3 weeks. There is also some new prescription medications and even laser therapy which can treat certain types of warts. However it is recommended to always try over the counter medications first.

Even though we cannot make warts magically disappear, we can help you treat them. Even though the medications I have talked about today are available without a prescription it is a good idea to consult a pharmacist. Your Dauphin Clinic Pharmacist can help you select the best product and one that is safe!

As always if you have any questions or concerns about these products, ask your pharmacist.

We are always looking for new ideas for these articles.  If you have any topic suggestions, please email us at dcp@mymts.net.

The information in this article is intended as a helpful guide only.  It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice.  If you have any questions about your medications and what is right for you see your doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional.

We now have this and most other articles published in the Parkland Shopper on our Website.  Please visit us at www.dcp.ca

Warts

By Trevor Shewfelt, Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

Fillet of a fenny snake, in the cauldron boil and bake; eye of newt, and toe of frog, wool of bat, and tongue of dog, adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting, lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,– for a charm of powerful trouble, like a hell-broth boil and bubble.  The three weird sisters from Shakespeare’s MacBeth are some of my favorite witches.  Apparently, I should just call it Shakespeare’s Scottish play as legend has it there are so many witches and spells in MacBeth, that even when I utter the name of the play I will be cursed.

Witches, make me think of warts and potions.  I’ve had warts on my hands and feet come and go over the years.  Fortunately, at the moment, I’m wart free.  But I’ve tried many, many different wart potions in my time.  Compound W, home freezing products, a stomach medication called cimetidine, and even a concoction made of poison ivy.  Don’t try the poison ivy one.  I don’t want to be responsible for you turning into a huge itchy rash.  Remedies I’ve heard of but never tried include covering the wart with duct tape for a day and removing the duct tape and rubbing a penny on the wart and burying the penny in the garden.  So what are warts and why are they so hard to get rid of?

Warts are caused by a viral infection in the top layer of the skin.  The virus is called the human papillomavirus (HPV) and there are more than 100 different types of human papillomavirus (HPV).  Children and young adults are the most commonly affected age group.  Handlers of meat, poultry and fish also have a high incidence of warts.  It has been estimated that up to 25% of the population will have a wart at some time.  Warts are usually spread from direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.  It can also be spread by contact with surfaces like communal showers and swimming pool decks.  It can take 2 to 6 months from time of infection until the wart appears.  Although there is limited proof, some experts think it could take up to 3 years between exposure and wart development.  Warts are hard to get rid of because the human papillomavirus is really, really good at hiding from your immune system.  HPV just convinces the security guards of your immune system that it is really okay for them to be there and to not sound the alarm.

When should you see a doctor and when can you try to treat a wart yourself?  If you have warts on your face or genitals, or if you have flat warts you should get them checked out by your family doctor.  People with diabetes or circulatory problems also should not self treat because these people are more likely to have problems healing wounds in the skin.

Many non-prescription wart products contain salicyclic acid.  They can harm the skin around the wart if not used as instructed.  To use the salicyclic acid products first soak the wart in warm water for 2-5 minutes.  Dry off the wart and the area around it.  Then gently remove the top layer of skin from the wart with an emery board, pumice stone or rough wash cloth.  If you make the wart bleed, you rubbed too hard, and may actually cause the wart to spread.  Apply the salicyclic acid product only to the wart and not to the healthy skin around it.  You can protect the healthy skin around the wart with some vaseline if you wish.  You will have to repeat this wart removal process everyday, so most people choose to soak, rub, and apply at bedtime.  The wart will turn white and soft over time and you will rub off more and more of it until it goes away.

Recently, freezing products became available over the counter.  Two common trade names are Wartner and Compound W Freeze Off.  It is not liquid nitrogen like your doctor uses, but accomplishes the same thing.  Think way back to highschool physics.  When a gas expands, it cools.  When a gas expands rapidly, it cools rapidly.  These over the counter products allow liquids similar to lighter fluid expand into a gas within an applicator.  So my first warning is that these products are flammable.  My second warning is the applicator gets cold.  It can get below -55 C.  Follow the instructions in the package carefully.  Most importantly, don’t freeze the skin around the wart.  It will damage your skin.

Double, double, toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble.  By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.  I just hope it’s not another wart.

As always if you have any questions or concerns about these or other products, ask your pharmacist.

The information in this article is intended as a helpful guide only.  It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice.  If you have any questions about your medications and what is right for you see your doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional.

We now have this and most other articles published in the Parkland Shopper on our Website.  Please visit us at www.dcp.ca

Warts – Audio

By Trevor Shewfelt.  Recorded by the nice people at 730 CKDM, The Parkland’s Best Music

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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