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Health Headlines 1/25/08

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In This Issue:

This Week on PeoplesPharmacy.com
Featured Q&A
Featured Home Remedy
FDA Warns Parents about Cold Remedies for Kids
Cough Medicine May Not Work
Pregnant Women Urged to Cut Out Coffee
Caffeine Reduces Risk of Ovarian Cancer
Contraceptive Patch Raises Risk of Clots
Chantix Warning Strengthened
Cranberry Juice Prevents Urinary Infections


Free Podcast Of The People's Pharmacy Radio Show

Miss the People's Pharmacy radio show last week? Download our podcast! Every week we post the radio show as a free audio podcast. You can subscribe to our podcast using a program such as iTunes, or visit our website and download a particular show you want to hear again. Each People's Pharmacy radio show is a 1 hour audio file which will be posted on Mondays.

Click here to download the podcast of last week's show, 664 Dietary Supplements:
http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/archives/free_podcast/664_dietary_supplements.php
Click here to learn more or subscribe to our podcasts:
http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/podcast/


Best Choices from The People's Pharmacy

We are pleased to announce a new edition of our book, Best Choices from The People's Pharmacy. Best Choices is filled with natural healing approaches for dozens of common conditions including:

  • arthritis
  • high blood pressure
  • constipation
  • insomnia
  • diabetes
  • leg cramps
  • headaches
  • menopause
  • heartburn
  • nail fungus
  • high cholesterol
  • osteoporosis

We also rate prescription drugs so you can get the best buys for your money. Best Choices is packed with remedies that will surprise you, statistics that will shock you, ratings to help assess your treatment options and drug information that could save your life. Purchases from the web site receive over a 29% discount off the list price of $34.95.

This special edition (524 pages) is not available in any bookstore. It contains an expansion of our People's Pharmacy Favorite Picks (home remedies) and a new chapter on Desert Island Drugs and Dietary Supplements. Some of the country's leading experts have contributed their insights on the best treatments for what ails you. This edition is not in stores or on other Internet sites. It is only available from Rodale Books and directly from The People's Pharmacy.

http://ppcart.fountainshosting.com/p-249-best-choices-from-the-peoples-pharmacy.aspx


This Week on PeoplesPharmacy.com:

This Week's Radio Show: 665 Healthy Skin
The skin is the largest organ in the body. And when something goes wrong with the skin, it is often very visible. This means skin problems can have psychological complications.Dr. Amy Wechsler is both a dermatologist and a psychiatrist. She...
http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/archives/radio_shows/665_healthy_skin.php

Prescription Prices Blowing Budget To Shreds
Q. I am lucky to have insurance through my employer, but I need more medications as I grow older. Last month, my doctor and I discussed new drugs for two health problems. Because I have had serious negative reactions to...
http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/archives/pharmacy_qa/prescription_prices_blowing_budget_to_shreds.php

Gin-Soaked Raisins For Joint Pain
Q. I found a home remedy on your Web site and tried it for my husband. He doesn't have arthritis yet, but is in his early 40s and has had surgery on both knees. They cause him almost constant pain....
http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/archives/herb_home_remedy_qa/ginsoaked_raisins_for_joint_pain.php

Turmeric Eases Itchy Psoriasis
Q. My stepdad has had a horrible case of psoriasis for over 10 years. The rash was all over his body, caked on his scalp and itched constantly. The dermatologist he saw prescribed Dovonex and Capex and clobetasol. He has...
http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/archives/herb_home_remedy_qa/turmeric_eases_itchy_psoriasis.php

Don't Be A Good Patient
Doctors like “good” patients. They even have a technical term for these people. Physicians call them compliant. Bad patients are non-compliant. A compliant patient follows doctor’s orders. In most cases that means taking the pills that are prescribed without too...
http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/archives/editorial/dont_be_a_good_patient.php

Drinking Listerine Spells Trouble
Q. We are at a stand-off with our son. During his 8-day visit over the holidays, he used 3 1/2 bottles (1.5 liters each) of Listerine. We are concerned because it contains alcohol. Our son went through detox treatment four...
http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/archives/pharmacy_qa/drinking_listerine_spells_trouble.php

WD-40 For Stiff Joints?
Q. Why do you not recommend WD-40 for arthritis? I know a couple of older gentlemen who have used it and say it works. A. We too have heard from folks who have used WD-40, the mechanics’ lubricant for squeaky...
http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/archives/herb_home_remedy_qa/wd40_for_stiff_joints.php

Stopping Underarm Odor Without Antiperspirant
Q. I am looking for a deodorant that is just a deodorant, not an antiperspirant as well. I can’t seem to find one. Your recommendation? A. Some readers recommend baking soda. One suggested,“Take a wet washcloth and dip it in...
http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/archives/pharmacy_qa/stopping_underarm_odor_without_antiperspirant.php

Can Earl Grey Tea Cause Muscle Cramps?
Q. I have a colostomy and was advised to get plenty of fluids. I began drinking quantities of Earl Grey tea, my favorite. Since I started drinking this tea, I’ve suffered many painful finger and foot cramps at night. I...
http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/archives/herb_home_remedy_qa/can_earl_grey_tea_cause_muscle_cramps.php

Watching Out For Statin Interactions
Q. My mother-in-law is 86 years old and in reasonably good health. Several months ago, she started complaining about increased pain and seemed very weak and confused. Within a month, she could not walk and was forced to leave her...
http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/archives/pharmacy_qa/watching_out_for_statin_interactions.php

Stinging Nettle For Allergy Relief
Q. A friend found a mention of nettle leaf for allergy relief in your book and passed it along. It works wonderfully. It has also worked for others. A student in one of my college classes told me that he...
http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/archives/herb_home_remedy_qa/stinging_nettle_for_allergy_relief.php


Featured Q & A

Herbal Memory Booster May Interact with Meds
Q. My mom has become increasingly worried about her memory. She used to keep track of all the birthdays and anniversaries in the family and knew exactly how old all the grandkids and cousins were without writing anything down. Now she makes lists of everything she wants to do for fear she'll forget.

She has started taking ginkgo because she heard it's good for memory. Is it safe with her other medications? She takes atenolol, Tylenol PM, amitriptyline and Ticlid.

A. There is a chance that your mother's ginkgo might interact with the anticoagulant Ticlid to increase her risk of hemorrhage. Theoretically, amitriptyline may also pose a problem with ginkgo.

Your mother's medications may be affecting her memory. The diphenhydramine in Tylenol PM might have an impact, as could amitriptyline or atenolol. She shouldn't stop her prescriptions but she should discuss her concern with her doctor.


Featured Home Remedy

Spicy Salsa Soothes Psoriasis
I am 42 and have suffered from psoriasis for 30 years. With age the skin lesions got worse; I had five or six on my chest and back that were at least three inches across. My elbows and knees were covered with red, rough plaques and silver scales.

For years I have used Ultravate ointment two or three times a year. After applying it twice a day for two weeks, most of the plaques would turn pink with no scale, but my elbows, knees and one spot on my back didn't change at all. Within a month all the spots would be as bad as ever.

Last spring I developed a taste for hot spicy food. I started eating salsa almost every day, and graduated from mild to medium to hot.

During this time, the ointment worked amazingly well. The psoriasis plaques disappeared after the pink stage. I can't remember the last time that happened. Then, with no treatment, my elbows and knees started to clear. Now I have only one lesion that is bigger than a dime.

At first I didn't make a connection between the hot peppers and the lesions clearing, but then I read that capsaicin from hot peppers is used as a topical treatment for arthritis and psoriasis.

As a test I stopped eating hot peppers and within two weeks the remaining lesions became inflamed and irritated. Selfishly, I ended the test immediately. Sure enough, the plaques got much better when I started eating salsa again.

You can read more home remedies on our website:
http://www.peoplespharmacy.org/archives/home_remedies/index.php


Health Headlines:

FDA Warns Parents about Cold Remedies for Kids
The Food and Drug Administration has issued a public health advisory to warn parents against using over-the-counter cough and cold remedies for babies and toddlers. The agency took this drastic action because there is little, if any, evidence of benefit and a concern about potentially life-threatening side effects. This should come as no surprise to parents. Last fall manufacturers voluntarily took most of these products off pharmacy shelves. A commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine last month called on the FDA to act against pediatric cough and cold medications. The authors asked the agency to issue a public statement that the products are not safe and effective for children under six. The FDA has not yet made any statement on the safety or effectiveness of such drugs for children between the ages of two and six.
[FDA News, Jan. 17, 2008]
http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2008/NEW01778.html

Cough Medicine May Not Work
The Cochrane Library has just questioned the effectiveness of cough medicine for adults as well as children. This publication reviews the world's medical literature to determine the benefits and risks of many therapies. A recent review of 25 placebo-controlled studies found that the evidence for effectiveness of common cough medicines was unconvincing in both adults and children. The authors conclude that, "Higher quality evidence is needed to determine the effectiveness of self-care treatments for acute cough." The FDA is responsible for determining that all medicines, both prescription and over the counter, be proven safe and effective. Given that Americans spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year on cough medicine, it is disturbing to learn that there is so little good evidence supporting the effectiveness of these drugs.
[Cochrane Library, Jan. 23, 2008, Issue 1]
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/homepages/106568753/CD001831.pdf

Pregnant Women Urged to Cut Out Coffee
Pregnant women may want to cut back on caffeine. A new study of more than 1,000 women shows that those who consume 200 mg or more a day doubled their risk of miscarriage. It is easy to get 200 mg of caffeine from two cups of regular coffee or three or four cups of tea. Five 12-ounce cans of soft drink also supply that much caffeine. Pregnant women and those planning to become pregnant may want to limit their caffeine intake.
[American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology]

Caffeine Reduces Risk of Ovarian Cancer
Caffeine may have some beneficial effects, however. Researchers have reported that regular coffee drinkers are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Now epidemiologists have found that women who drink coffee and other caffeine-containing beverages may be somewhat less likely to develop ovarian cancer. The investigators questioned over 80,000 women about diet and lifestyle every few years since 1976. Women who had never taken oral contraceptives appeared to obtain the biggest benefit from caffeine.
[Cancer, March, 2008]
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/117888868/ABSTRACT

Contraceptive Patch Raises Risk of Clots
Speaking of contraception, the FDA is reinforcing a warning about the risk of blood clots associated with the Ortho Evra contraceptive patch. It is applied once a week and is promoted as a convenient and discreet contraceptive solution. But women using Ortho Evra appear to double their risk of blood clots that could cause heart attacks or strokes. That might be due to higher doses of estrogen in the patch compared to the pill. The overall risk of blood clots is low, but women who smoke or are over 35 need to discuss the dangers with their physicians.
http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2008/NEW01781.html

Chantix Warning Strengthened
The Food and Drug Administration has also required a sterner warning about the stop-smoking drug Chantix. The new label will advise health professionals to monitor patients for agitation, depression, suicidal thoughts or erratic behavior. There have also been reports of aggressive behavior associated with Chantix. A Dallas musician, Carter Albrecht, was shot and killed after he started yelling and pounding on a neighbor's back door. He was taking Chantix at the time. The company has backed off its tortoise-and-hare TV commercials and will only run ads that raise awareness about smoking cessation without mentioning Chantix by name.
http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/early_comm/varenicline.htm

Cranberry Juice Prevents Urinary Infections
An old wives' tale gains credibility from modern medical science. The Cochrane Collaboration uses a rigorous scientific review process to evaluate conventional and alternative therapies. A report shows that cranberry juice can help prevent urinary tract infections. The investigators analyzed 10 studies involving more than 1000 subjects who received cranberry products, placebo juice or water for at least a month. Those who got cranberry juice had significantly fewer infections during the year.
http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab001321.html

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2 Comments

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I used to suffer from frequent urinary tract infections (UTI). I drank cranberry juice everyday, but it did not decrease the frequency of my infections. Often the UTI pain was debilitating, on the weekend, and the ER was so busy I'd spend hours pacing because I couldn't sit down. Eventually I read somewhere that intercourse could push bacteria into the urethra and that urinating soon after intercourse (within 15 min. or so) would push out the bacteria thus preventing the UTI. Since then I have had only one UTI.(When I accidentally fell asleep before I got up to go to the bathroom!)

Can you direct me to a web site that provides purity and/or quality levels of supplements and herbs?

What are some types of natural anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications, herbs or supplements?

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: WE SUGGEST CONSUMERLAB.COM. THEY DO ANALYSES OF VITAMINS AND SUPPLEMENTS. THERE IS A MEMBERSHIP FEE, BUT OFFER A GOOD SERVICE.

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