Surgical treatment hurts women but is allowed to continueBy LANE NICHOLS - The Dominion Post Monday, 11 February 2008
ANDREW GORRIE/ Dominion Post
ANGRY AND AMAZED: Hanifa Koya has stopped using SprayGel after her patients required further surgery to remove scars. She says the product should be put on hold till surgeons and patients can be assured of its safety.
• Subscribe to Archivestuff• Have your say
A surgical gel - containing a drug untested on humans - has caused excruciating internal scarring in dozens of women that could lead to infertility, claims a leading gynaecologist.
Many of the endometriosis patients have already forked out thousands of dollars for repeat surgery. Some are now pursuing compensation from ACC.
Endometriosis is a condition where abnormal growths develop in pelvic organs, causing inflammatory reactions leading to scarring and pain. It affects millions of women worldwide.
Though some gynaecologists have stopped using the anti-scarring gel because of concerns about its safety and effectiveness, others still use the treatment, Wellington specialist Hanifa Koya said.
Medsafe, the Government agency that approves medicines, has told the American manufacturer to add additional precautions to the instruction pamphlet.
But it maintains the product is safe, and refuses to ban its sale without conclusive evidence of harm - even though the gel is considered high risk under proposed legislation.
Dr Koya - who first raised concerns in December 2005 - was disillusioned at the response of health agencies, which she claimed had let Confluent SprayGel be used internally on thousands of Kiwi women since about 2002 without adequate clinical testing or ongoing monitoring of its effects.
She had spoken out because of concern for her patients and to highlight the need for immediate law changes to protect people.
"Confluent SprayGel is a product sprayed inside human beings and contains a section 29 drug (methylene blue) which has not been tested on human beings, and this product was allowed to be used ... [with] no quality assurance in terms of monitoring," she wrote to Medsafe in December.
"It's quite amazing - we're using it inside human beings," she told The Dominion Post. "I would have expected ... that they would have said, `Let's put this product on hold or start asking some questions', but that didn't happen."
Dr Koya began using the gel in October 2002, but stopped in April 2006 after her rate of repeat laparoscopies - keyhole operations - jumped from less than 2 per cent to around 10 per cent.
Women who would usually have made swift recoveries developed severe pain or discomfort after their initial operations.
Dozens of the many hundred women she treated with the gel needed repeat surgery to remove scarring - which could cause infertility - even though their endometriosis had not returned. "It's only where I've sprayed the SprayGel. It's like sheets of scarring which I've never seen in my practice."
Dr Koya said she had not repeated any laparoscopies since using an alternative product.
She complained to American manufacturer Confluent Surgical and has written repeatedly to MedSafe and the Health Ministry asking them to investigate, but felt her concerns had been ignored.
New Zealand distributor Covidien Tyco did not return calls.
Medsafe interim manager Stewart Jessamine said SprayGel was classed as a device under the Medicines Act, not a medicine.
No clinical assessment was required before its sale, though manufacturers had to ensure the device was safe. Medical practitioners had the ultimate responsibility for its use on patients.
After a review, it it concluded the gel was safe "when used as intended".
There had been no other complaints and there were no plans to restrict its supply, it said.
'I shouldn't have to pay for it'The Dominion Post, New Zealand - 21 hours agoTwo years after she had invasive surgery to treat her endometriosis, Anastasia Spallas-Blades has had to go back to have painful scarring caused by a ...
Expert: Surgical gel has injured womenUnited Press International - 14 hours agoKoya said these women now suffer from endometriosis, a medical condition in which abnormal growths appear in a woman's pelvic organs. ...
Gynaecologist calls for ban on surgical gelRadio New Zealand, New Zealand - 9 hours agoA Wellington gynaecologist is calling for a ban on a gel used in operations to treat endometriosis. Hanifa Koya, a surgeon at Wellington's Wakefield ...
IHRT.....the jury is out here. We will wait for science and not accusation before we give up hope on Spraygel.
As we all were told....Spraygel is only as effective as the surgeon using it.
The blue coloring in question is used to run the bowel and bladder all the time.
Maybe the were using too many kits ( like some surgeons we know)