Does Health Canada recommend the use of HCG products for weight loss?
HCG (also known as Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin) is used to treat women with infertility. It is authorized in Canada, but only in the injectable form. Contrary to the popular perception and online marketing gimmicks that the use of HCG can promote weight loss, such claims are not backed by any scientific evidence, whether it’s used as an injection or by mouth.
In fact, one can suffer some serious side effects if HCG is used to treat weight loss and other conditions which are not indicated. Some of the side effects associated with inappropriate use of HCG include painful cysts which occur due to over-stimulation of a woman’s varies.
Under Canada Food and Drug Regulations, HCG is on Schedule F which consists of prescription drugs. A drug can be legally sold in Canada only if it has an eight-digit DIN (Drug Identification Number) on the label. Otherwise, it would be considered a risk to human health and safety. The Health Canada is responsible for reviewing and approving a given drug if it has the acceptable risk/benefit profile for its intended use.
As much as Health Canada has the mandate to regulate the sale of any prescription drugs in Canada, it has no role on prescription or use of drugs. It is not uncommon for medicines to be used off-label; using the medicine to treat conditions other than the approved ones. In fact, it is allowed under the "practice of medicine” for a physician to prescribe a given medicine off-label for individual patients as long as he/she meets the regulatory requirements set by the local colleges of physicians. But if an off-label prescription leads to any health or safety problem, the Health Canada can assess the effect and take appropriate regulatory actions against the concerned physician. Though this can only happen if the issue is reported.
Are there any adverse reaction reports to Health Canada about off-label use of hCG?
Within a period of three years (from January 2008 to January 2011), only 4 adverse reaction cases of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) were reported to Health Canada. Of these 4 reports, 3 indicated that the HCG was being used to treat women with infertility problems, while 1 was not specific on the condition being treated.
Adverse reaction reports will remain nothing but suspicions if there is no definite causal association. To determine the cause-and-effect relationship, additional scientific investigations must be done. This involves assessing various aspects of causality, like the timing between the product use and the reaction, the presence of underlying diseases, the contribution of other medications or therapies, the medical history of the affected person, or other factors that might have played a role in the development of the reported adverse reaction. It goes without saying that the process of establishing the existence of a given reaction or determining the risks of a given product should not be based on previous case reports. This is because no one knows the exact number of possible reactions or the number of people using the health product.
Is it advisable to buy hCG online?
As mentioned earlier, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin drugs that are legally sold in Canada must have a Drug Identification Number on the label, which consists of an eight-digit number followed by the word DIN. Any HCG product without this marketing authorization label is considered to have serious health and safety risks. For a HCG product to be authorized for sale in Canada, the Health Canada must review it to determine if its risk/benefit profile is acceptable for the conditions in question.
Therefore, you can buy HCG in Canada as long as it meets the above conditions. This does not mean that there are some dishonest Canadian-based sites out there selling fake HCG products to unsuspecting Canadian consumers. If you fall a victim to such scams, simply report the matter to the Health Canada. They will get to the bottom of such complaints to ensure that any advertising adheres to the market authorization requirements and that only HCG products authorized for sale are available in the Canadian market. The provincial regulatory authority is responsible for regulating the practice of pharmacy in Canada. So if you want to find out whether a given pharmacy is licensed to operate in your province, contact your local College of Pharmacy.