People's Pharmacy

People's Pharmacy

February 16, 2007|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,

You invited readers who have had trouble with Ambien to write. I had two incidents in 2003 when I drove in my sleep while taking Ambien. Once, I bought a pack of cigarettes while I was out. I did not realize this until I saw them on the kitchen counter the next morning.

In October of 2005, I went on a cruise. I took Ambien to get some sleep, but my roommate reported that I got up in the middle of the night and started walking around. I have not taken any more Ambien, because I am afraid of what I might do.

We keep hearing from people who sleepwalk or even sleep-drive while taking Ambien. Although this appears to be a rare side effect, it is disconcerting and potentially dangerous.

I have been treated for hypothyroidism for years, and I can always tell if I have an imbalance. My hair starts falling out more rapidly than it should, and my nails start splitting. Why is this?

The thyroid gland produces hormones that control every cell in the body. This includes the tissues responsible for hair and nails. Perhaps that is why low thyroid activity can result in hair loss and brittle nails.

Other signs of hypothyroidism include dry skin, constipation, fatigue, weakness, puffy eyes, reduced libido and elevated cholesterol. An unusual symptom is loss of the outer third of the eyebrow.

My neighbor is about 30 years old. She weighs about 98 pounds soaking wet and is under 5 feet tall.

I am in my early 50s, 6 feet tall and weigh more than 220 pounds. I have significantly more body muscle and more body fat. So how can a dosage of a medicine such as aspirin or cold medicine be "for adults"?

Your point is well-taken. Drug dosing (prescription as well as over-the-counter) should be individualized. Offering a single adult dose for everyone would be like trying to get everyone into a size 10 shoe. Sadly, the Food and Drug Administration has not required nonprescription drugs to have more detailed weight-based dosing instructions.

I love to eat hard-boiled eggs, but do not like the yolk. Do I get any type of benefit just eating the white of the egg? The dog gets the yolk!

Egg white provides high-quality, low-fat protein. Your dog is getting all the cholesterol, but also the other nutrients such as lutein found in egg yolks.

I read your article about soy sauce and burns recently. The next day, at my job as an executive chef, I was blending a very hot soup when the blender top popped off and the soup ran down my arm.

I've been in this business for 22 years, and I have a lot of remedies. But I went for the soy sauce. I have to tell you that it saved me a lot of pain and blisters. It really worked.

Other readers have reported that they, too, benefited from the soy-sauce remedy for burns.

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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