Q. I have a friend who says that Preparation H can smooth wrinkles on your face. She has lovely skin, but I am dubious. Could a hemorrhoid product really do any good against wrinkles, or is this an urban legend?
A. Preparation H has a reputation for unique uses beyond the obvious one. For decades people told us that they used this ointment on bed sores, surgical scars (to reduce itching and inflammation), burns, cracked dry finger tips as well as wrinkles. One woman told us that Preparation H rescued her plum tree after she scraped the bark with her lawn mower.
All of these unorthodox uses were with the original Preparation H formulation, which included live yeast cell derivative (LYCD) in addition to shark liver oil. But the FDA made the manufacturer remove the LYCD because the studies supporting its effectiveness for hemorrhoids did not convince the agency.
We suspect the LYCD, also known as Bio-Dyne, may have been responsible in part for the positive results people reported. Scientific studies show this ingredient can hasten wound healing.
Elsewhere in the world, the formulation of Preparation H still contains LYCD. If you would like to try it, you can get some from Canada via the Internet. Look for Preparation H with Bio-Dyne.
Q. My doctors disagree and I am confused. My gynecologist has had me taking estrogen for osteoporosis for years. She maintains that it is the gold standard to keep bones strong.
My internist disagrees and put me on Fosamax. When my bone density test showed continued bone loss, he added Evista and told me to stop taking estrogen because of a family history of breast cancer.
My Gyn is annoyed that I have stopped estrogen. She says that there is no research to suggest taking Fosamax together with Evista would be beneficial. How can I sort out this conflicting information?
A. We checked with one of the country’s leading experts on osteoporosis, Dr. Robert Heaney of Creighton University Medical School. He told us, “The combination of raloxifene [Evista] and Fosamax gives an additional bony benefit as well as the protection against breast cancer. in this case the good news is that raloxifene interacts constructively with Fosamax and the patient’s better off to take both than just to take one.”
We’re sending you our Guides to Estrogen: Benefits, Risks & Interactions and Osteoporosis, which offers more details about Fosamax and Evista. Anyone who would like copies, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (no. 10) stamped (60 cents), self-addressed envelope: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. WU-52, P. O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.
Q. I often drink a glass of tonic water (which contains quinine) to prevent leg cramps. I thought I was being smart until I read in a newsletter that anyone taking Lanoxin should not drink tonic water. Why not?
A. Quinine reduces the liver’s ability to process digoxin (Lanoxin), so this heart medicine can accumulate to toxic levels if a person is also taking quinine. The research on this interaction employed doses higher than you would get from a single glass of tonic water, but you should have your digoxin level tested to make sure you are within a safe range.

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