Readers of this site have asked several important questions about the use of quick-relief (‘rescue') medications -- both OTC and prescription. In this and my next entry, I would like to address the following issues: This entry: Are OTC drugs an effective way of treating asthma? Next entry: When is the right time (and how often) to use prescription quick-relief inhalers? For people with mild asthma that only affects them intermittently, an OTC quick-relief medication may be reasonable. This applies to individuals who need no regular daily medication for their asthma and have symptoms less than twice a week during the day or twice a month at night. There are two main formulations of OTC quick-relief medications -- inhaler and tablet. Both are drugs that are bronchodilators (relax the smooth muscles around the breathing tubes to let air go in and out more easily). The main medicine in the inhalers (which include Primatene Mist, Asthmahaler) i...
Millions of Americans in pursuit of a remedy for stuffy nose and sinus pressure turn to over the counter (OTC) nasal sprays because of their quick action, availability and presumed safety. But did you know prolonged use of topical nasal decongestants (TNDs) often leads to addiction? Case in Point: A 32-year-old male was referred to me because of complaints of chronic nasal blockage. The patient suspected his problem was hay fever (allergic rhinitis). During the interview, he revealed that a year ago he began to have trouble sleeping because of a stuffy nose. He felt considerably better after using a TND before going to bed. Within 2 weeks he began to awaken in the middle of the night requiring another dose of his nasal spray for relief. One month later he required doses 4 times daily in order to avoid severe nasal congestion. By the time I saw him, he was going through almost a bottle of nasal spray daily. His diagnosis was Rhinitis Medicamentosa (RM) which means nasal inflammation (rhi...
On June 9, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first
effective vaccine against Human Papillomavirus, a sexually
transmitted infection that is one of the major causes of cervical
cancer. On the heels of this approval, which represents a crucial
breakthrough in the efforts of scientists, doctors and public
health officials to combat the spread of STDs in the United
States and elsewhere, the Medical College of Georgia announced
today that significant strides have been made towards the
development of another STD vaccine, which will protect against
There is a pressing need to develop an effective protection
against this disease. Genital herpes affects one out of every four
American women and one out of every five American men, according to
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although it is not
life-threatening in adults, it is particularly dangerous to babies;
transmission of the virus from the mother to the child during
pregnancy or childbearing...
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