People's Pharmacy



A couple of years ago, before Vioxx was taken off the market, my husband took it for joint pain. (His job requires a lot of lifting.) He had no cholesterol issues or clogged arteries, so I am convinced the Vioxx was responsible for his heart attack.

He has recovered, but his joints still ache. His doctor has prescribed Mobic. Is it safe for him to take this drug?

Since the controversy surrounding Vioxx and similar drugs, the Food and Drug Administration has scrutinized other NSAID pain relievers. All will have stronger warnings about an increased risk of cardiovascular events (like heart attacks and strokes). Until there is more long-term safety data about NSAIDs like Mobic, your husband might discuss acetaminophen or other alternatives with his doctor.

I've been taking the blood thinner Coumadin to treat atrial fibrillation for eight years. My cardiologist told me I need to avoid grapefruit juice, broccoli, spinach and all other green, leafy vegetables except iceberg lettuce.

I was concerned about missing out on vitamins, so I asked if I could take a multi. He said only if I could find one with no vitamin K. That has been difficult. Is there a way I could get my vitamins without interfering with my Coumadin?

Ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian. His restrictions on your diet are more stringent than most experts think is necessary.

There are no data to suggest that grapefruit, which affects many other drugs, would interfere with Coumadin.

I've read that it's safe to drink a couple of cups of coffee a day. How much is that?

I drink my coffee from a mug. It looks bigger than the coffee cups in my china cabinet.

Is decaf healthier than regular coffee? I grind my beans fresh each morning. Is there still caffeine in coffee if I keep it in the refrigerator for two days?

Your coffee mugs probably are bigger than a standard 6-ounce coffee cup. Many mugs hold 10 or even 12 ounces of liquid, so a single mug full of coffee would supply your "two cups a day."

There are definitely some differences between regular and decaf coffee. A study presented to the American Heart Association last year demonstrated that drinking decaf can raise fats in the bloodstream, eventually leading to higher levels of bad LDL cholesterol.

If you brew your coffee Monday and take it out of the fridge to warm it up and drink it Thursday, it will still have the same amount of caffeine in it.

I used to have severely dry skin. Then a friend told me to dip my hands in a solution of two-thirds white vinegar and one-third water, leave it on one or two minutes and then rinse it off.

My heels are no longer so dry and rough that they tear my hose. I have given this tip to hairdressers who have dry hands because of the chemicals they use.

This is not the first time we have heard that vinegar could help dry skin. There are no scientific studies to support this claim, but it is an inexpensive remedy and might be worth a try.

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:

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