New estrogen substitute is improved

People's Pharmacy

December 30, 1997|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon, Ph.D. | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon, Ph.D.,SPECIAL TO THE SUN King Features Syndicate

I heard on the news the FDA has just approved a new drug for osteoporosis. My doctor wants me on estrogen for my bones and heart, but estrogen scares me because my cousin had breast cancer. Is it true the estrogen substitute causes blood clots and leg cramps? What about headaches?

The new medication is Evista (raloxifene). This drug has many of the benefits of estrogen (it builds bone and lowers cholesterol) but does not appear to promote breast or uterine cancer. It may even reduce the likelihood of breast cancer.

Side effects of Evista do include blood clots, leg cramps and hot flashes. We have seen no mention of headaches.

I am extremely susceptible to motion sickness. Driving on mountain roads makes me nauseated. Turbulence on airplanes is hell. The only thing that helped was Transderm Scop. When they took the patch off the market a few years ago I was angry.

When I heard that Transderm Scop was coming back I asked my doctor for a prescription. I have called numerous pharmacies but no one seems to have it in stock or knows when it will be available.

Please tell me why Transderm Scop disappeared, when it will be back and whether it will be any different from what I used before.

The drug company voluntarily removed Transderm Scop patch about three years ago because of a manufacturing problem. The active ingredient, scopolamine, passes from a reservoir through a mesh membrane that releases it to the skin over three days. From there it is absorbed into the bloodstream. The old formulation sometimes developed crystals that interfered with the passage of the medicine.

The problem has been solved and Transderm Scop is being shipped around the country.

It is already available in major markets but may take another month or two to reach your pharmacy. It is otherwise identical to the old medicine.

Remember this drug can cause drowsiness, dry mouth, disorientation, dizziness, memory problems and blurred vision. Do not drive or operate machinery while using the patch. Children and people with glaucoma or urinary problems shouldn't use it.

Pub Date: 12/30/97

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