More advice from The People's Pharmacy
6:42 PM CDT, November 5, 2010
The People's Pharmacy
By Joe Graedon and Theresa Graedon, Special to the Los Angeles Times: Amitriptyline prescribed for the elderly, banana skins may help warts
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?
July 5, 2010
What can you tell me about red yeast rice? Is it really good for lowering cholesterol levels, and are there any side effects?
May 24, 2010
Recently, I had to increase my dose of warfarin by 1 milligram. The label said to avoid cranberry juice, but I've not seen this on previous warfarin prescriptions. I have atrial fibrillation, and that is why I take the anticoagulant.
May 17, 2010
Q: I published the original article on cranberry juice cocktail and urinary tract infections (Journal of Urology, May 1984). We also demonstrated in several nursing home studies that cranberry juice cocktail, not the plain juice, works best. Please spare your readers the tartness of the straight juice. — Anthony E. Sobota, PhD
May 3, 2010
Q: I have taken statins to lower my cholesterol. Decreased libido was one of the many side effects I experienced. As things happened gradually, I hadn't fully taken note of how my normal nighttime erections had virtually ceased.
November 30, 2009
You're tired, hungry, cranky, and you've been waiting in line forever. Now your pharmacist is offering to discuss your new prescription -- the last thing on earth you want to do.
November 30, 2009
Some drugs are so common that consumers -- at their peril -- don't think twice about them. But each drug, whether prescription or over-the-counter, poses risks. We offer a few details on five of the most-prescribed medications.
February 15, 2010
If I feel a canker sore coming on, I put a wad of chopped sauerkraut on the area, hold it there for a minute, then chew and swallow. I do this three or four times a day for two to three days.
June 4, 2007
I had a wart near my ankle and decided to try the duct-tape treatment. Each morning, every day for three weeks, I cut a small piece and, after my shower, stuck it over the wart.
March 29, 2010
Q: The other day, someone wrote asking about kidney stones. To cut down on kidney stones, I drink several glasses of lemonade a week.
April 26, 2010
I have been taking Benicar for hypertension for about three years. Now I have developed muscle and back pain.
April 19, 2010
I have suffered from insomnia for many years. My doctor prescribed Ambien, but it doesn't seem to be working very well anymore. I also suspect that it affected my memory.
January 16, 2006
For several years I have been taking atenolol for my blood pressure, Zoloft for depression and Prevacid for acid reflux. During this time, my breathing has gradually gotten worse, and now I can't walk more than 20 or 30 feet without stopping to catch my breath. Up to a couple of years ago, I walked four to five miles a day at a fast pace. Could this change have anything to do with my medicines?
January 2, 2006
What foods are high in selenium? I've been told this mineral may help prevent arthritis.
October 10, 2005
Are there any natural treatments for narcolepsy and cataplexy?
December 26, 2005
My husband takes HCTZ and Monopril for his hypertension, and Vytorin to lower his cholesterol. Since starting the drugs, he's had trouble with impotence. He refuses to see a urologist but takes an herb called horny goat weed instead.
October 3, 2005
My doctor had me take Prelief because he thought I had interstitial cystitis. It turns out I don't. But since I started using Prelief, I have hardly had any canker sores, which I got every time I ate something acidic, like salsa or barbecue sauce.
September 26, 2005
In the last few months, I have been put on various drugs for sinus problems. These include antibiotics like Tequin and Levaquin as well as prednisone. The prednisone made me squirrelly, so I stopped it with my doctor's OK.
March 22, 2010
Q: Recently, I heard that there was a cream or ointment for getting rid of age spots. I think I heard it referred to as Hydroxycordone. I would like to get rid of my brown sunspots.
March 15, 2010
Q: Which is better, fish oil or flax oil capsules?
April 12, 2010
I gave up eating eggs years ago due to high cholesterol. I have only been eating egg substitutes. I recently heard that eating eggs doesn't really raise cholesterol. If this is true, I would love to go back to eating real eggs again.
March 8, 2010
Q: I am a clinical nurse specialist who has submitted 37 adverse-event reports to the Food and Drug Administration regarding generic lamotrigine. Most involved a loss of response, but many involved side effects that did not occur with brand-name Lamictal.
November 16, 2009
Q: Milk of magnesia is great for blemishes. I started using it six months ago, and it really helped clear up my skin. It was better than the things my dermatologist prescribed. I apply it every night before bed and leave it on all night.
November 9, 2009
Q: Can you tell me about the pain reliever salsalate? My doctor says it will help ease my arthritis pain and might help control my blood sugar.
Is there anything to help with pediatric eczema? Topical steroids helped my granddaughter for a while, but I worry about long-term side effects. Probiotics were suggested; I don't know anything about them.
March 20, 2006
My doctor told me to take half a tablet of Lipitor a day. In a magazine ad, it said not to cut tablets but didn't say why. Do you know why Lipitor shouldn't be broken?
January 9, 2006
I read about a new drug that affects the body's cannabinoid receptors. It is supposed to curb appetite, lower cholesterol and block glucose.
August 15, 2005
My family faced the problem of insect bites when I was young, living in the hills of Arkansas. Much of our food, such as huckleberries or blackberries, came from the woods. When we went out to gather them, our first stop was a spot that had a lot of pennyroyal herbs. We pulled up a couple of plants, scrubbed them against our trouser legs and were never bothered by ticks, chiggers or other insects while we were gathering fruit.