People's Pharmacy


September 29, 2006|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon

I've heard that ibuprofen will negate the positive effects of aspirin if the two are taken together. I read a report that says ibuprofen blocks aspirin's effect for only two hours and that it's safe to take ibuprofen two hours after aspirin to circumvent this effect. Any truth to this?

Several years ago, a report in the New England Journal of Medicine (Dec. 20, 2001) suggested that ibuprofen could counteract the anti-clotting benefits of aspirin. A new study in the journal Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (September) confirms that ibuprofen undermines the effectiveness of aspirin against blood clots.

In this study, it made no difference whether the aspirin or the ibuprofen was taken first. Waiting two hours won't solve the problem.

Do you have any information regarding sugar-free gum and diarrhea? My daughter had trouble with weight loss, stomach cramps and diarrhea. Three different doctors could not diagnose the cause. Then she remembered it all started after she began chewing sugar-free gum.

Sugar-free gum frequently contains compounds such as maltitol, sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol. These sweeteners are not absorbed well from the digestive tract and attract water. This can lead to watery diarrhea, gas and cramps. Giving up sugar-free gum should ease your daughter's digestive woes.

My doctor has prescribed Avodart for an enlarged prostate. I am interested in learning about any adverse side effects possible from taking this new drug.

Avodart (dutasteride) blocks the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT stimulates the growth of prostate tissue. Researchers are studying whether this medicine might lower the risk of prostate cancer. Although most men tolerate Avodart very well, a few report reduced libido or impotence.

You invited readers to tell you whether deodorant helps insect bites. I keep a stick deodorant in my first-aid kit at all times. It has never failed to take the pain away immediately and reduce any aftereffects of the bite.

Other readers have also found this trick helpful. A grandmother shared the following: "Usually if you rub the deodorant on the bite right away, it stops itching immediately. You are never bothered with it again."

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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