Mon 2 Dec, 2002 05:45 pm
I am a pharmacist. When I became very,
very ill (rheumatoid arthritis) I became
disabled, so I am retired, sort of, whatever.
Over the years, I learned about as much
from my patients as they learned from me.
There are some great remedies on your
average drugstore's shelves, but for some
of them, they have uses beyond what is
listed on their label & not necessarily what
they are sold for. The reason for this is,
because our FDA requires loads of clinical
tests & studies before a mfr can put on the
label, "use this for condition "XYZ"
This costs $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ so why bother
for an OTC drug item that only costs $5.00?
*(1) Insomnia anyone? What a plague and a
nuisance this is. Since I am no longer working,
it doesn't matter as much that I am still awake
at 3AM, but when you need to get up at 7AM,
& go to work for 12 hours, it is really rough.
There are maybe 8 different drugs on the shelf
that all claim to be a safe & effective aid to sleep,
& with the exception of melatonin
(which is a vitamin/mineral) they are ALL made
of the same basic thing. It is diphenhydramine
25mg, and it's an antihistamine - used for colds.
BUT it has a side effect - drowsiness - so the sleep
aid products are taking advantage of a side effect of
an antihistamine. Diphenhydramine is the same thing
as the plain Benadryl 25mg capsules on the cold &
cough aisle. Next to a bottle of 100 Benadryl capsules,
is usually a generic, a store brand, which costs less.
A bottle of 100 generic Benadryl probably costs less
than 20 Nytol or other sleep aid. You can take 1 or 2
at bedtime, it IS safe & usually it's effective.
*(2) For all our hemorrhoid sufferers, there are
maybe 6 or 7 choices of OTC (over the counter)
meds you can try- none of them works real well.
Surprisingly enough, what DOES work is Vicks Vapo
Rub, that menthol smelly ointment in the jar that
grandma used to rub on your chest when you had a
"chest cold". It works 10 times better than anything
else I know of. (Ahem, I hate to say this, but in this
case, I can tell you from personal experience.)
*(3) While we are on the hemorrhoid aisle, I'm
reminded of something here that is terrific for
"cold sores", "fever blisters" or herpes simplex
virus or whatever you call them. Preparation H
Ointment - which isn't really worth two cents for
hemorrhoids works WONDERS for "fever blisters."
I have seen really huge ones that take up nearly
half a lip, shrink in half within 2 days. You must
use the ointment, not the cream. I don't have a
clue if the cream works or not. In the vitamin section,
there's a product called Lysine, which if you take
500mg a day also helps reduce severity of cold sores
& how often you get them. You need to remember
in the summer months to wear a lip balm with a
sunblock in it - sun exposure can causes a breakout.
Someone on Abuzz told me that Prep H also shrinks
"crows feet" around the eyes. But, then again, someone
on Abuzz told me he brushed his teeth with his wife's
Vagisil - ???????????????
*(4) Speaking of teeth, if you add some baking
soda onto your toothbrush & toothpaste, it helps to
brighten your teeth & helps get rid of stains.
*(5) Women often get vaginal yeast infections from
taking antibiotics for 5 to 10 days. You can buy
Monistat, etc OTC now. But there is a way to avoid
getting a yeast infection altogether. In vitamins is
a product called Acidophilus, & if taken daily while
you're taking the antibiotic and for a few days after
may mean you get no yeast infection at all.
*(5) Poison ivy (once the title of an old song) itches
like mad when you get a case of it. In the soap &
bath section is a box of flaky stuff called Aveeno Bath.
Actually is a colloidal form of oatmeal. It works
wonders for itchy skin conditions. Another good one
for itchy skin conditions is Domeboro.(it may be in the
pharmacy, or you may have to ask the pharmacist to
order it for you). It is very, very good for any itchy
skin condition. Domeboro comes in tablets or granular
form, you mix it with water as directed on the package
& apply it to the itchy area as a wet dressing, it brings
instant relief. It's also great for chickenpox, an allergic
skin reaction from medication, or any itchy dermatitis.
*(6) The Common Cold. No, I do not know of anything
to avoid this. But thanks to Linus Pauling & his research,
we DO know that Vitamin C, taken daily helps prevent colds.
And at the first sign of a cold coming on - you can take 2
tablets Vit C(500mg each) and a Zinc lozenge(also in vitamins)
and many patients SWEAR that this has stopped a cold dead
in its tracks. I never tried the zinc lozenges, (I hear they
taste nasty) but I do know that the Vitamin C is a BIG help.
*(7) One last thing - ALWAYS ask your pharmacist if you
have a question & ALWAYS ask your pharmacist if you
pick up your refill, but the pills do not look the same as
they usually do. I, personally, (ThankGod) never made
any mistakes filling prescriptions, except I might give you
30 and the MD only ordered 25, or something like that; but
seriously there ARE many misfilled prescriptions every year.
Many pharmacies I've worked in fill over 600 prescriptions
per day. It's always best to check if you have ANY questions.
babs..thanks for all the interesting information, there are so many OTC or home remedies that people can use in place of medications and they really should find out more about it.
I voted Pharmacist because of the title of the quest here, for OTC medications, and really any medications at all, I will more likely ask my pharmacist about them, and trust them further than my doctor. Its like asking your tire guy about your muffler or some such nonsence-although they work in the same area, there are specialists. Doctors also have drug representatives stopping in to sell them something, which they in turn sell to you, or they are constricted by your insurance by which prescription they can write for you, unless you ask...you wont know. Then, you go to the pharmacy to get the prescription and you know, thats the person who can give you all the information you need about the drug being prescribed, and since that is their specialty, they may most definately have more information than your doctor will, not only on that drug but, also on others similar and any other information you may need to find out.
I find it surprising many times that people buy products, even off the shelf without reading the ingredients. The example you give of sleep aids for example, thats a real easy one to figure out if you just read, and I have
There are also alot of old wives tales that are certainly true in aiding you at home, would love to hear others.
What about wearing copper to help with arthritis? Is that for real or just wishful thinking?
And what's with the whole magnet thing?
Great info - I believe a pharmacist has room for error than a Doc. in most cases. JMO.
Do you know anything about - silver (sea?)
Then also there's that over silver stuff I cannot remember, that works miracles on burns - but I hear it's hard on your skin - but that confuses me when one has a burn the damage is done.
I've had nothing but good luck with zinc lozenges, and happen to favor the Cold Ezzz brand. They don't taste bad of themselves, but your food won't taste as good as usual.
Advil (ibuprufin) is the same as prescription Motrin except the dosage. Three of the 200 mg tablets usually do wonders for inflamation.
I would like some straight information on magnet therapy too, macsm.
whom do you trust -doctor or pharmacist?
I chose doctor because I know him and I have worked with him and know his limitations.
The pharmacist is simply the person who happens to be on duty at a massive retail outlet and he/she would not really recognize the medications that I am receiving if it were not in its regular container.
It is not like the old days when you could consult with your pharmacist as
to the side effects of the meds.For that info I e-mail my doctor or I go on the net.
I am not your run of the mill consumer since I am trained in microbiology and biotechnology and I have done extensive research in drug sensitivity studies.
I have used zinc lozenges for several years to help stop colds, and they do work. Once in a while I still get a cold, and I think it's because the virus has already spread too much for the zinc to help. When I first started taking them, they were nasty tasting, but like roger said, you can get them flavored now. The orange ones are still pretty sour, but I've tried cherry ones and they're not bad at all!
Also, about ibuprofen. You can buy generic ibuprofen. Most stores have it in their own brand and it costs less than half what Motrin or Advil does.
Thanks for the information, babs. Very interesting!
There is a burn product, although I do believe
it is still a prescription drug (although there is
no rhyme or reason to this) called Silvadene.
Great stuff - don't know why they don't sell it
over the counter. It is great for burns.
Is Silvadene the same prescription drug that they give to diabetics when they have sores that won't heal? My dad has used something with a name like that in the past, and his HMO told him its cost was equal to gold. He did say it worked pretty good, though.
Welcome, welcome to A2K. Nice to meet
you, and glad to hear your point of view.
Unfortunately, what you say about the
pharmacist in a large deep discount
retail pharmacy - is true, TOO OFTEN.
Personally - I would ALWAYS stop what I
was doing, to answer a patient who had a
question about side effects, and most common
about whether or not it will interact unfavorably
with other meds they were taking. In THIS case,
it is to your benefit to get ALL your meds at the
same place. It never bothered me to stop and
check it out, because it is all in the computer now.
Just enter the names of all the drugs involved,
and the computer gives you a list of interactions,
if there are any. It also reminds you if the patient
has any drug allergies. But, I have seen some
very lazy, inept, stupid, rude, useless, unpleasant
pharmacists. It is to EVERYONE'S benefit it you
come across one of these - to call his manager,
or ask to speak to the manager of the entire store
like in a Super WalMart or something. If the guy
is rude and not helpful to you, chances are - he
gets away with treating everybody that way - and
only because he has not yet been caught. Division
mgrs take these things VERY seriously, one bad
pharmacist can do serious damage to a great pharmacy,
if left unchecked. As for drug information, it is sad
but true that, aside from continuing education classes,
doctors get the majority of their new drug information
from the drug company representative (he works for
the company selling the drug) - so, this is not very
honest, unbiased information the MD is getting about
any new drug. It would be great if there was more
time for the doctors and pharmacists to chat, but
it is rare as everyone is racing to keep up with the
load of work to do.
Hi! roger & macsm - I have heard about
the copper, AND I have heard about the
magnets but I have also heard they are
just a load of crap!!! This really burns me
up... I KNOW how badly those of us with
severe arthritis suffer We suffer terribly.
It's just plain cruel to make people think
there is some miracle out there that will
help them, and it turns out to be just
another money scam! I WISH I could
tell you some good news about either of
them, but there is none.
I DO know of something that helps with
arthritis pain - but it has its dangers - so I
only recommend its use with the greatest
of caution/ and with patients who are
intelligent enough to use all necessary
precautions to prevent contamination.
**In your local feed/animal store -or
if you live somewhere these are not to be
found....you may try on the net. There is
a solvent called DMSO. I heard about this
way back when I was in pharmacy school.
Many patients have used it. It is used for
horses for leg pain, muscle cramps, etc.
The stuff is so inexpensive, (maybe $8
for an 10oz bottle) that no company is going
to go through all the trouble, costs, tests,
etc of getting the FDA to approve and label
it as an arthritis medication.
**I used it for over 7 years, and suddenly I
became allergic to it. It did help wonders
with neck pain & with spinal pain - less so with
the knees, and other joints - but it DID give
**The precautions involved in using this liquid
solvent are that you must always wash your
hands thoroughly & completely before you
handle the liquid AND after you handle the
liquid. This solvent has the unique property of
being able to "drive" a medicine OR a poison
into the tissues. So, although I'm not able to
take medications like Celebrex, Vioxx etc etc
I can mix the contents of a celebrex capsule
with a small amount of DMSO - and whenever
my neck or back was excruciating - I would
have someone just very lightly apply it - NEVER
rub it in, you just very lightly apply it to the skin.
Even then it causes a tingling itching feeling.
Rubbing will cause a severe, burning, itching
nasty reaction. Alternatively, if I had been out
in the yard spraying my rose bushes with a
pesticide - and IF I did not scrub & scrub my hands
before I touched the DMSO, I would have
contaminated the DMSO with that nasty pesticide,
and EVERY TIME that I used it after that, I would
be poisoning my own body with the pesticide.
So, I CAN NOT honestly endorse it, but as a fellow
arthritis sufferer - I can only tell you that I did
get some relief from it until I became allergic to
it. IF you use it, just be cautious and be safe.
Thanks babs. I'm not an arthritis sufferer myself, but have many friends who are. One of them swears by DMSO too.
Babs recently, well three weeks ago my Internist prescribed Actonel for my osteoperosis and wow have I ever suffered with it. He gave me the once a week dosage, was careful to detail how it was to be taken, first thing in the morning with 8 oz of water and then not food for 30 minutes. And he gave me two sample pills. the first time I took it, the Monday of Thanks Giving week, I just about did not make it to turkey day dinner because my stomach was so upset. I had been sick and did not immediately attribute the stomach problems to the meds. I took the second pill the following monday, that was over a week ago. I have been very sick from this medicine. I have never had stomach problems before and of course I am not going to take it ever again unless there is some way to offset the side effects.
The information I have obtained re this med was with Phoenix's help and the web. Do you know of any alternatives or any way to off set the bad effects. I am still suffering stomach problems although to a lesser extent after not taking the medicine for 10 days.
Joanne- Please, if a medication is causing you serious side effects, DON'T TAKE IT. Call your doc, and tell him what is happening. Certain people are sensitive to certain medications.
I don't know if you saw my post not long ago, but my doc prescribed Vioxx for the osteoarthritis. I got a horrendous case of reflux, and threw up. I stopped it, and it went away.
Let your doctor work for his money. He may have to study up and find something for you where the cure will not be worse than the disease!
Thanks Phoenix I have have stopped the medicine (10 days ago) and have called the doc, no return calls yet. And you are right the cure has been worse than the disease. One thing that crossed my mind is that maybe this is one of the reasons some of the elderly feel so bad they usually take all the meds prescribed by a doctor with out question and it is the medicine that is wrecking havoc with their feelings of well being.
Joanne- A few years ago, my mom was with a doctor who kept adding meds, whenever my mother complained about something else. That year she fell four times, and had to go to the Emergency Room to make sure that she hadn't broken anything.
Since she changed docs, who is much better with meds, about three years ago, she has not fallen once!
Babs, thanks for the info, it's great of you to share what you know.
Ive seen glucosamine sulfate sold OTC, and wondered if it's any good for arthritis or occasional joint pain.
Is the Actonel that Joanne talked about the same as Fosomax? I've been taking fosomax once a week for about 6 months now, so far no bad effects. I'm very naive when it comes to pharmaceuticals, and couldn't really vote for who I trust most, because so far I haven't suffered through any mistakes.
I can vouch for Domeboro, it's expensive but really does the trick.