Medical-grade honey a remedy for wounds

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

August 14, 2008|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon

I work with animals. We had a dog rip out her stitches to a point where closure was not an option. Our veterinarian placed honey on a dressing and bandaged up our little beagle. A day later, the wound looked much better!

Honey has been used for thousands of years to help heal wounds. A recent article demonstrated that medical-grade honey kills antibiotic-resistant bacteria (Clinical Infectious Diseases, June 1, 2008). When applied to the forearm, this Dutch honey (Revamil) kept germs from growing on the skin. The manufacturer also has developed a veterinary formulation called Vetramil, which is supposed to discourage licking.

I was on Lipitor for a number of years and have severe muscle and nerve damage to the extent that I am in a power wheelchair. Do you think Lipitor could be to blame?

Statin-type cholesterol-lowering drugs such as Crestor (rosuvastatin), Lipitor (atorvastatin), Mevacor (lovastatin) and Zocor (simvastatin) are linked to muscle pain, weakness and nerve damage. Most physicians have assumed that muscle problems are an extremely rare side effect. Many readers have experienced this problem, however. Here is one example:

"I've been taking Lipitor for years. Two months ago I stopped, since I suspected it was responsible for the major pain and weakness I am experiencing in the muscles of my arms, shoulders, hands and feet. I felt like a lump of spasmodic pain with extreme fatigue and brain fog.

"My doctors did not think Lipitor was the cause. Stopping the Lipitor banished the brain fog, so I can think and remember things again. I am still plagued with pain, muscle spasms and weakness."

New research (New England Journal of Medicine online, July 23, 2008) suggests that some people are highly susceptible to muscle-related complications from high-dose statins. This genetic vulnerability may affect up to one-fourth of the population. Others are unlikely to experience such problems.

I seem to recall reading on your Web site about a reliable Canadian site from which to get less-expensive and legitimate prescription drugs. I am in the Part D "doughnut hole," and a 90-day supply of my Actos is more than $500. Can you direct me to that Canada information once again so I can get some much-needed help with my drug costs?

We did some checking and found that in the U.S., the diabetes drug Actos might run anywhere from $570 to $692 for a three-month supply. The same medicine in Canada could cost between $161 and $382. The savings are significant.

When people enter the dreaded doughnut hole in their Medicare Part D prescription plan, they have to pay 100 percent of the medication costs. Buying from Canada can be helpful, but caution is necessary. Some Web sites that claim to be Canadian are based elsewhere.

Medicare participants who spend more than $4,050 out of pocket become eligible for catastrophic coverage. If you think your drug bills will be a lot more than that, you should probably continue buying your medicine in the U.S.

Here in Hawaii, we call head lice "ukus." We've had quite a problem with them this year, and I have found the medication costly and ineffective. I'm glad you wrote about Listerine, because I never would have thought to use it. We tried it, and it worked.

Many traditional lice treatments have lost effectiveness. The alcohol and other ingredients in Listerine may help kill lice. One mother described saturating the scalp with Listerine and covering the hair with a shower cap for two hours. She then combed out the dead lice.

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: peoplespharmacy.com.

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