By Joe Graedon and Theresa Graedon, Special to the Los Angeles Times
6:42 PM CDT, November 5, 2010
My 86-year-old sister takes amitriptyline. I worry that this drug could be affecting her balance. She uses a cane and always seems unsteady on her feet. She has fallen many times. Is amitriptyline safe for someone her age?
This antidepressant is generally considered inappropriate for older people. Although it is sometimes prescribed to ease nerve pain or help people sleep, amitriptyline can cause mental confusion, lack of coordination, dizziness, dry mouth, blurred vision and constipation.
There is a list of drugs that should normally not be prescribed to older people, and amitriptyline is a prime example. A fall that results in a fracture could be life-threatening. Your sister's doctor should reevaluate this prescription.
My 7-year-old grandson has warts on his toes. He's been to the doctor, with no luck. What can I use to treat this?
One approach is to cut a piece of banana peel about the size of the wart and tape it on overnight. A new slice of banana skin nightly (white part touching the skin, yellow part out) may clear warts in a couple of weeks. Others have reported success by painting the warts with castor oil, vinegar or the white juice from a broken milkweed stem.
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition. http://www.peoplespharmacy.com.