Caffeine boosts pain relief of aspirin or ibuprofen


January 28, 2001|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,Special to the Sun; King Features Syndicate

Q.Thirty years ago when my daughter was making her first Holy Communion, I had a house full of guests. My head was splitting, and nothing helped. My sister-in-law told me to try a couple aspirins with a cup of coffee.

I had tried everything else, so I took her advice. A few hours later she asked me how my headache was, and I realized the pain was gone. That's how I learned to combine aspirin and caffeine.

A.Caffeine has been shown to boost pain relief from either aspirin or ibuprofen. A recent study proved that 400 milligrams of ibuprofen combined with 200 milligrams of caffeine (roughly two cups of coffee) worked better than ibuprofen alone for tension headaches.

Q.I am a 23-year-old female who was prescribed the drug Depo-Provera for birth control. I received three shots and regret every one of them.

I didn't notice any side effects until after the second shot. Then my libido began to decrease, but I continued with the drug because I loved not having a period. After the third shot, I noticed an extreme decline in libido (I was disgusted at the thought of sex).

I began sweating more, and my armpits stank. I would stay in the shower for half an hour every day just scrubbing, but I couldn't get rid of the smell.

I was nauseated and having trouble with my skin (acne, rashes). In the third month of the third shot I started spotting. Now, two months later, I have frequent headaches and am nauseated and tired with a nonstop period. I have mood swings, and that smell has come back.

I have spoken with many women my age about this drug, and all have had similar problems or worse. Have you heard anything regarding this? I think too many women like us have not spoken up concerning this drug, so the FDA has done nothing.

A.The official package label that comes with Depo-Provera mentions that sometimes heavy or continuous bleeding can occur with this form of contraception. Other side effects listed include headache, decreased libido, nausea, depression, fatigue, dry skin excessive sweating and body odor. It may take a while longer for the medicine to work its way out of your body. Women need to know about the risks as well as the benefits before undertaking long-lasting contraception.

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