Q. My mum lives in New Zealand and would love to visit us, but she is petrified her nitroglycerin heart medicine will set off the security alarm. Is there any way to reassure her?
A. If her luggage were screened with a swab to detect explosives, residue from her nitroglycerin medicine might be detected. Nitrates in her medication are similar to those found in explosives. If she has her prescription and a note from her doctor with her, the TSA authorities shouldn’t give her any grief. Nitroglycerin is a common heart medicine taken by millions.
Q. You recently ran a question from a person who had trouble with Prozac. Maybe the individual started taking this drug with a bad attitude. I took Prozac for four years, and the only side effects I experienced were headaches and constipation for a month. Prozac is not a fix-all drug. If the person who wrote you expected it to solve all her problems, she’d be disappointed. Anyone who starts on an antidepressant needs a support system as well. Mine was my husband.
I imagine the things that woman thought (like running people off the road or killing a coworker) had been there all along. A drug couldn’t make you think such things.
A. Many people benefit from antidepressants like Prozac, Lexapro, Paxil or Zoloft. Others may find that such drugs either don’t help or cause unpleasant side effects. Symptoms such as agitation, insomnia, dizziness or sexual dysfunction can be intolerable for some people.
The FDA acknowledges that some patients may experience irritability, hostility, impulsivity and thoughts of suicide. Whether such drugs can trigger thoughts of violence towards others is still controversial.
Q. The Internet pharmacy we have been using in Alberta, Canada, has just notified us that their new Health Minister may stop the shipment of drugs from Canada to the U.S. They suggest that they can still help us buy our medicines for less. They will act as middleman and obtain drugs from other countries like Australia, Israel, Chile, and New Zealand.
We’ve had a good experience with this pharmacy but we’re not sure about buying our prescriptions all over the world. Do you have any advice?
A. Don’t write Canada off just yet. Although there are signals that the government would like to shut down pharmacy sales to the U.S., that decision has not yet been taken. As a result, people like you can still order your prescription medicines online from Canada.
Ordering from other countries may not provide the same high quality or safeguards that exist in Canada. To learn more about this entire process, readers may consult our Guide to Saving Money on Medicines. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $2 in check or money order with a long (no. 10) stamped (60 cents), self-addressed envelope: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. CA-99, P. O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.
Q. My granddaughter does not take medicine well. She is 2 and fights it hard-spitting out all she can. We have tried an oral syringe, but she still spit a lot out. Can we mix the medicine with juice and fool her into drinking it? It is an antibiotic.
A. Some antibiotics could be inactivated by juice, especially if it is calcium-fortified. Ask your pharmacist whether the medicine is susceptible to this reaction.