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Pharmacy Q&A: January 2012

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Q. I am 55 and was diagnosed with osteoporosis last April. I just learned that I am deficient in vitamin D. I have felt fatigued and mentally foggy as long as I can remember. Could I have been vitamin D... (Read More)
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Q. I have been diagnosed with pruritus ani, itching around the anal area. This condition causes itching so intense that it can keep me up at night. My doctor ruled out hemorrhoids and other causes. I was told to stay... (Read More)
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Q. I have had COPD for decades. After taking azithromycin for about 15 weeks I am feeling well for the first time in over 20 years. A. A placebo-controlled study found that the antibiotic azithromycin can reduce flare-ups associated with... (Read More)
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Q. I have a long history of anxiety and panic attacks. I am also a performing musician, which can often cause performance anxiety. I have been prescribed Xanax (alprazolam) off and on over the years along with a myriad of... (Read More)
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Q. I need a past article from you about Celebrex (celicoxib). Someone had complained that it made her nipples hard or something like that. I had a similar problem so I cut my dose from 200 to 100 and my... (Read More)
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Q. I was alarmed to read that eating canned soup can raise body levels of BPA. If this is true for canned soups, wouldn't it follow that other canned foods would pose the same problem? A. Bisphenol A (BPA) is... (Read More)
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Q. My skin turns to sandpaper in the winter. I get all sorts of cracks, just like a paper cut, and they can be incredibly painful. They are worst on my fingertips, knuckles and thumbs. The heels of my feet... (Read More)
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Q. I am an international flight attendant. I was pleased to read in your column that coffee might be used for asthma in an emergency. I think we have some kind of asthma medication in our enhanced medical kit, but... (Read More)
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Q. My father has atrial fibrillation and is treated with a pacemaker and digoxin. His heart doctor ordered amitriptyline because of a burning sensation in his feet. He had fainting spells within two weeks of starting on the amitriptyline. With... (Read More)
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Q. My husband was on Lipitor for three years. One day, out of the blue, he lost his memory. He knew his name but not the date or where he had been the day before. He was able to tell... (Read More)
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Q. Earlier this year I saw one of your articles about the use of nitroglycerin patches for osteoporosis. Are there any further studies on this? I have severe osteoporosis and have used most of the available treatments without success. I'll... (Read More)
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Q. I take metoprolol for blood pressure, and lately I have had trouble with cold hands and feet. I also have joint pain and shortness of breath. Am I right to suspect the drug? A. Metoprolol is a beta blocker... (Read More)
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Q. I have been on Catapres patches for several years to help control high blood pressure. My insurance company switched me to generic clonidine patches without my knowledge. Within 36 hours of switching to the generic, my blood pressure was... (Read More)

Treating Eczema

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Q. Are there any simple treatments for severe eczema other than steroids? I just hate to keep smearing steroid cream on my skin all the time. A. Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin inflammation that may be... (Read More)
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Q. Is it true that you should not drink cranberry juice if you are on Coumadin to thin the blood? A. Several years ago British regulatory authorities issued a warning to patients taking warfarin (Coumadin) not to drink cranberry juice.... (Read More)
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Q. I always thought celiac disease was extremely rare and only affected young children. I was told that I had celiac sprue as a child but that I had outgrown it. I suffer a lot of digestive tract discomfort and... (Read More)
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Q. In an earlier column, you told a reader not to be afraid of the blood pressure pill lisinopril. I believe you should have warned her about the side effect I experienced. My face and lips swelled severely. Apparently the... (Read More)
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Q. My mother has taken the stop-smoking drug Chantix for nearly a month. She no longer has any desire to smoke, but she has had severe side effects. They were nausea, a bad taste in her mouth, stomach cramps, gas,... (Read More)