Published: Sunday, August 27, 2006
Radiation treatment for warts is no longer considered to be safe
Q. You've had several suggestions about remedies for plantar warts. I had one on each foot when I was a kid in the late 1950s. They were removed with two sessions of spot radiation. The radiation was on the same wart each time, and a week or so later, the wart cone fell out and the hole shrank. It was totally painless.
A. During the first half of the 20th century, dermatologists used X-rays to treat a wide variety of skin conditions. Not only was radiation used against plantar warts, it was also employed in the treatment of psoriasis, eczema and fungal infections of the skin.
This type of treatment would be considered reckless today. Skin cancers sometimes developed at the site that was irradiated. There are now much safer treatments available against warts.
Q. I have a caution about Effexor, which I took for hot flashes. I had to go out of town suddenly and ran out of pills because I couldn't get the prescription refilled beforehand. On the third day without it, I started to feel bad. Then I began vomiting and shaking.
As soon as I returned home, I took some anti-nausea medicine and restarted the Effexor. The next day I felt fine, so it wasn't the flu. I tapered off the medication over the next several months without any problems. My doctor said she had never heard of this type of reaction, but I know that's what it was.
A. Many people have difficulties with symptoms of withdrawal when they suddenly discontinue an antidepressant like Effexor. It makes no difference whether you intend to stop the drug, or whether you forget your dose; nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating, shakiness, shocklike electrical sensations and anxiety are possible symptoms.
Your approach of gradually tapering the dose is sensible. We are always discouraged to learn that a doctor is unfamiliar with this reaction, since it has been known and documented for at least 10 years.
Our Guides to Antidepressant Pros and Cons and Psychological Side Effects provide more insight on such problems and solutions for stopping.
Q. My doctor recently switched me from the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor to Omacor after I had a slightly elevated liver count. What should I know about Omacor?
A. Omacor is highly purified prescription fish oil. The Food and Drug Administration approved its use to lower high triglycerides. The most common side effects of Omacor are burping or indigestion, but they are less likely with this prescription product than with everyday fish oil.
Q. I am responding to a question from a person who is going on a cruise and doesn't want to get seasick. Suggest Bonine. This tiny pink pill is available over the counter.
It should be taken an hour before boarding the ship, or you can chew the tablet as soon as you remember it. The only side effect is a slightly dry mouth. I went on a cruise to Hawaii and never got sick. Bonine was my miracle tablet.
A. Meclizine is available over the counter as Bonine or by prescription as Antivert. This antihistamine has been used for motion sickness for decades. Some people experience drowsiness, dry mouth, constipation, urinary retention or blurred vision.
In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of this newspaper or e-mail them via their Web site: www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.
© 2006 King Features Syndicate Inc.