Hanky-panky may cause headaches

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

June 13, 1999|By Joe Graedon, and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon, and Teresa Graedon,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Q. I have a problem that my doctor and neurologist can't help me with. I am hoping you can give me a hint as to what to do.

Whenever I strain in heavy lifting or in hanky-panky (don't laugh), I get severe, pounding headaches lasting five to 15 minutes. I am incapacitated by them. My neurologist says they are "benign sex headaches" caused by my blood pressure going high, but I'm on Accupril for hypertension. Do you have any ideas?

A. Two kinds of headache are associated with sexual activity and exertion. One develops gradually with a dull, throbbing ache at the back of the head. The other type is explosive and excruciating, starting just before or during orgasm and lasting five to 15 minutes.

Neurologists often prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), naproxen (Aleve) or indomethacin (Indocin) to be taken before lovemaking. An alternate approach is the blood pressure pill propranolol (Inderal) as a preventive measure. You might want to consult a headache specialist and ask if such treatment would be appropriate in your case.

Q. Your article on "white coat hypertension" was of great interest because I have been on blood pressure medication for many years. I use a home monitor, and I usually have higher readings in the doctor's office.

I take atenolol and Vasotec along with one aspirin, as prescribed. I was surprised to read that aspirin may reduce the effects of the beta blockers and ACE inhibitors. Can you send me more information?

A. Aspirin and other NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen, indomethacin, etc.) may reduce the effectiveness of beta blockers such as atenolol or propranolol. ACE inhibitors, including Prinivil, Zestril and Vasotec, also may be affected.

No one should stop taking prescribed aspirin, since it prevents heart attacks and strokes. Lower doses are less likely to interact, so please discuss this with your doctor.

Q. My doctor prescribed Celebrex for arthritis, but soon my whole body was covered in red spots. Neither my doctor nor I had suspected I was allergic to the drug. I am disappointed because it really helped. Can you tell me anything about the new arthritis medicine just out?

A. The new medicine you are referring to is Vioxx (rofecoxib). Both Vioxx and Celebrex are COX-2 inhibitors. That means they relieve inflammation and pain with less risk of causing stomach irritation and ulcers than aspirin or traditional NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen.

People who are allergic to such medicines (including Celebrex) could also react to Vioxx.

King Features Syndicate

Pub Date: 06/13/99

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