People's Pharmacy

October 27, 2006|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,

I read in your column that a reader had success getting rid of skin tags by putting Band-Aids on them. I tried this but could never get a bandage to stay on long enough.

I was about to give up when I ran across some liquid bandage in my medicine cabinet. I had a large skin tag growing on my shoulder and put the New Skin Liquid Bandage on it. Within a week, the flap fell off. Have you heard of this before?

Skin tags are benign, fleshy growths that commonly appear in skin folds such as under the arms, in the groin area or on the neck. They can also show up on the face. They are common and not dangerous. Dermatologists can remove them surgically or with an electric needle. A few years ago, a reader suggested applying Band-Aid Clear Spots tightly over skin tags to get rid of them in a week or two. Your technique sounds a little easier, and we will be interested to learn if it works for others.

My mother recently had emergency surgery (two days after planned hip-replacement surgery) to repair an ulcer that had left a hole the size of a half-dollar in her stomach. She had been taking Mobic before her hip surgery. Please alert your readers to the dangers of NSAIDs. They must be informed about the risks of these drugs, particularly for the elderly.

It has been estimated that more than 100,000 people are hospitalized each year because of adverse reactions to NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). More than 15,000 people die, often because of complications caused by bleeding or perforated ulcers. Drugs in this class include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), meloxicam (Mobic), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) and indomethacin (Indocin).

In addition to digestive-tract damage, NSAIDs can raise blood pressure, increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, as well as injure kidneys and the liver.

I told some friends about using soap for leg cramps, and they laughed and said I was nuts. I want to try it anyway, because sometimes leg cramps wake me up. What kind of soap is used, where do you put it, and does it need to be unwrapped?

We received many questions similar to yours because we failed to provide all the details. The brand of soap should not matter, though some suggest that Dial and Dove might not work. Unwrap the bar and place it under the bottom sheet near your legs.

Some people have had astonishing success with soap.

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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