Q. Recently, our physician prescribed Lipitor for my husband and myself. We both have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. We both take Glyburide and my husband takes Avandia as well.
Since we started on Lipitor, our blood sugar has been rising rapidly. My husband asked the doctor about changing to Tricor, but he was told it would not help him much and he should stay with Lipitor. It seems that Lipitor is affecting our blood sugar. Is this possible?
A. Elevated blood sugar (hyperglycemia) is listed as a potential reaction to Lipitor. We contacted University of California, San Diego, statin researcher Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD.
Dr. Golomb responded: “There are two studies that have shown unexpected significant increases in blood sugar or in hemoglobin A1C (which is an index of blood sugar over time) with statin use. Though increases are modest on average, some people appear to experience more considerable increases.”
Dr. Golomb and the UCSD Statin Study (statinstudy@ucsd.edu) are conducting research on this issue, and are interested in hearing from those who have experienced blood sugar elevations on statins, as well as other adverse experiences on statins.
Those who prefer to contact us may do so at pharmacy@mindspring.com and we will pass the information on to Dr. Golomb. You both should consult your doctor about the problems you are having with glucose control.
Q. What is the cause of stool like coffee grounds? I’ve seen many warnings on leaflets accompanying prescriptions such as Aricept.
A. When stool resembles coffee grounds, it suggests bleeding within the digestive tract. This can be very dangerous and merits immediate medical attention.
Q. Last fall after all the controversy over HRT, I decided to stop taking Premarin. I had been on it for 12 years.
Since then, I have had extreme hot flashes day and night. I have tried soy isoflavones, to no avail. I am also taking calcium to try to prevent osteoporosis. Do you have any recommendations?
A. Many women experience hot flashes when they discontinue estrogen suddenly. Ask your doctor about going back on this hormone at a lower dose, so you can wean yourself off it more gradually. Going slowly may minimize hot flashes.
There are several non-hormonal approaches to hot flashes. Antidepressants like Zoloft or Paxil are sometimes used for this purpose. A standardized extract of the herb, black cohosh, has been tested and found better than placebo.
Other drugs (Actonel, Evista, Fosamax, Miacalcin) besides estrogen can also be used to strengthen bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. We are sending you our Guides to Osteoporosis and Estrogen: Benefits, Risks and Interactions for more information on alternatives to prevent weak bones and hot flashes.
Anyone who would like a copy, 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. My 23-year-old son has a painful plantar wart on the sole of his foot. He has no medical coverage, so surgery is out of the question. Are there any home remedies or other ways he could get relief?
A. Soaking the foot 30 to 90 minutes a week in warm water, about 110 degrees Fahrenheit, may get rid of the wart in six weeks or so.

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