New frostbite drug available soon in Fort St. John

A drug to help save the limbs of frostbite victims will soon be available in Fort St. John.

The Fort St. John Hospital will be the first in B.C. to administer the drug called Iloprost, according to a CBC News report. The drug can help prevent frozen tissues from dying and help a patient's limbs recover after suffering frostbite.

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"They become infected and to protect the rest of the body from the infected dead tissue, we do end up sending people for amputation," Dr. Jamie Wilkie told CBC.

"Hopefully [Iloprost] will limit the number of fingers and toes that require amputation."

The drug has helped to save the limbs of patients in the Yukon, where the drug has been readily available since 2016.

The Fort St. John Hospital first needs approval from Health Canada before the drug can be administered here, and an application is underway, CBC reported.

Wilkie hopes the drug will be available as soon as this winter, and if not, for 2021.

Iloprost has been used in Europe for severe frostbite since the 1990s, according to a 2016 study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Its first reported use was published in 1994.

The drug's "characteristics make it a drug of choice to reverse" the constriction of blood vessels and small blood clots that occur in frostbite victims, the study noted.

Read the full story from CBC by clicking here.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at

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