Jan
01
2007

Acetaminophen Overdosing Hazards

The FDA has expressed some concerns about the self-medicating with acetaminophen as this can led to an acetaminophen overdose. The over-the-counter medication is commonly used and especially in the winter season many sufferers of colds or influenzas will keep it handy. It is readily available, not only in pharmacies but also in supermarkets under the generic name or under brand names such as the commonly used Tylenol. It exists in dosages for adults and there are pediatric preparations like Children’s Tylenol. Acetaminophen is also a common ingredient in cold remedies. Every vial displays a clear warning that the content is enough to cause serious harm. Dosage instructions are also clearly spelled out.
More than 200 million people take Tylenol each year and 400 people die of liver failure every year, as they have accidentally taken too much.
Dr. Charles Cain from the New York Presbyterian Hospital has cautioned that overdoses can happen relatively easy. A patient is not to exceed 4 grams of acetaminophen per day. If the pain reliever is taken every 4 hours instead of the recommended interval of 6 hours, such as 2 extra-strength Tylenol at 500 mg each and some cold medication is added to that, patients may easily reach 4-6 grams of acetaminophen per day. If this practice continues for a few days, it can lead to liver damage, because the liver cannot keep up with the elimination of the drug. Other substances metabolized by the liver such as alcohol can become a serious hazard, if they are combined with acetaminophen. The effects of alcohol slow down the elimination of Tylenol by the liver.

Acetaminophen Overdosing Hazards

Acetaminophen Overdosing Hazards

It is for this reason that it is important to observe closely how much of the medication is taken in total: if a patient is already taking Tylenol for headaches, more acetaminophen (Tylenol) in the form of an over-the-counter cold medication should not be added as  would be reached.
These medications have to be used with an eye to overall daily use and the amount used over a period of time. Used with care acetaminophen remains very safe.

Reference: December 20, 2006 online issue of Time

Last edited December 5, 2012

Sep
01
2006

Cartoons Help Kids Deal With Pain

Shots in early childhood are often approached with a sense of trepidation by parents. It means almost without fail, that there is crying and resistance. All the well meaning comments, that it is “only like a little mosquito bite” to get a shot at the clinic are of not much use.
Italian researchers were able to confirm that children feel significantly less pain from blood draws when their mother was at their side. But this study from Siena, Italy also suggests that there are additional ways to distract children from pain. Sixty-nine children aged 7-12 were observed, and the study suggests that TV cartoons have an even greater power to distract youngsters from pain. Researchers took note that children whose attention was focused on a cartoon reported only one-third of the pain reported by controls of those who did not watch a cartoon.
The practical application could be useful in labs or clinics, where children are receiving injections or may experience pain and discomfort. A funny cartoon may take some of the sting out of the dreaded shots!

Cartoons Help Kids Deal With Pain

Cartoons Help Kids Deal With Pain

The study originally appeared in the August 17 online edition of Archives of Diseases in Childhood.

More information about pain: http://nethealthbook.com/neurology-neurological-disease/pain/

Reference: National Review of Medicine, August 30,2006, page 11

Last edited November 1, 2014

Aug
01
2006

Do Not Mix Migraine Medications With Antidepressants

Headache medications that are available over the counter in the local drugstore are ineffective when it comes to a migraine headache, and migraine sufferers have received great help from medications that are targeting a migraine attack. They are non-narcotic prescription drugs, some of which have to be injected. They are available under names like Amerge, Axert, Frova, Imitrex, Maxalt, Relpax or Zomic, and the medication group is known in pharmacists’ language as “triptans”.
The medications are generally well tolerated, but the FDA has issued a warning.
In combination with another medication group, life threatening side effects can occur.
Any patient who is receiving medication for the treatment of depression in the form of a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI’s) is strongly warned, not to take any of those listed triptans for migraine. The anti depressive drugs are Celexa, Fluvoxamin, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft. Two other medications, namely Effexor and Cymbalta are Selective Serotonin/Norepinephrin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSNRI’s), and they carry the same risk when taken in combination with the triptans.
The combination of the two medications can lead to a dangerous condition known as Serotonin syndrome. It occurs when the body has too much serotonin, a chemical found in the nervous system. Serotonin syndrome symptoms may include restlessness, hallucinations, loss of coordination, fast heartbeat, and rapid changes in blood pressure, increased body temperature, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Serotonin syndrome may be more likely to occur when starting or increasing the dose of a triptan, SSRI or SNRI.

Do Not Mix Migraine Medications With Antidepressants

Do Not Mix Migraine Medications With Antidepressants

It is up to the prescribing physician to carefully weigh the advantages against the serious side effects, and it can be a difficult choice, as both conditions, migraine as well as depression, need to be treated effectively. Any patient who has to take both medications has to be closely watched. The patient also has to be alert to any side effect.

Reference: FDA/Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, July 19, 2006

Link to chapter on migraines in Net Health Book: http://nethealthbook.com/neurology-neurological-disease/common-causes-headaches/migraine-headache/

Last edited Nov. 1, 2014

Apr
01
2006

Back Pain Improves With Acupressure

Lower back pain can be a frustrating condition for patients. It also is a major cause for disability and a source of depression. For the physician it becomes a vexing problem to find successful therapies. Pain medications and their side effects are often not acceptable for long-term use, and surgery very frequently will not be an option at all.
Additional therapies, which have been frequently used, are chiropractic treatment, massage therapy and physiotherapy. The results can vary a great deal depending on the condition. Acupuncture has gained a solid position in the therapeutic approach of back pain, however the modality of acupressure treatment has not received much attention in conservative circles.
If so far conservative voices could dispute the efficacy of acupressure due to a lack of research data, new studies are now available coming from the National Taiwan University in Taipeh. Under the leadership of Professor Tony Hsiu-His Chen and a team of specialists, a randomized controlled trial with 129 patients suffering of chronic low back pain has been conducted. The patients received physiotherapy or acupressure for one month as a modality of treatment.

At the end of treatment, the group treated with acupressure showed significantly less disability than the group treated with physiotherapy. The improvement in the disability score of patients treated with acupressure remained at six-month follow up examinations. Pain scores also remained reduced after treatment and at 6-month follow-up in the acupressure group.

Back Pain Improves With Acupressure

Back Pain Improves With Acupressure

These results point to the use of acupressure treatment as a very promising therapy for patients suffering of chronic low back pain.

More information on:

1. back pain: http://nethealthbook.com/arthritis/lower-back-pain/

2. Electro-acupuncture: https://www.askdrray.com/electro-acupuncture-twice-as-effective-as-conventional-acupuncture/

Reference: BMJ 2006; 332:696-700 (25 March, 2006)

Last edited Oct. 31, 2014

Feb
01
2006

Chronic Pain A Cancer Risk

Chronic pain can be an undermining force in people’s well being. Often it is more perceived as a nuisance or an inconvenience. How serious it really is as a health risk, has been emerging only in more recent observations.
Two well designed, population based studies in the UK are showing that there is an increased risk in people with chronic pain to die prematurely or to develop cancer.
In a study by J. Mc Farlane, MD individuals with chronic back pain or patients suffering of fibromyalgia show an increased risk for premature death and cancer. Often pain sufferers have not only one pain condition but also multiple ones. Mc Farlane quoted an excess risk of 30% for premature mortality in pain patients. At the same time he states that the risk is “relatively modest”. Another study noted that patients who suffered of widespread pain over a 10-year period had a 50% increased risk of developing cancer than those who were pain free at the baseline. Statistically it means that 2.5% of patients with widespread pain over a time of 10 years will develop cancer, which remains a small percentage.
The author notes that there is no reason to feel overly threatened by these results. More research will tell more. For the practical application the results point to the need for effective treatment and pain control before chronic pain patterns become detrimental to the patient’s health.

Chronic Pain A Cancer Risk

Chronic Pain A Cancer Risk

More information on:

Pain can affect many areas:  http://nethealthbook.com/neurology-neurological-disease/pain/

Cancer risks: http://nethealthbook.com/cancer-overview/overview/epidemiology-cancer-origin-reason-cancer/

Reference: The Back Letter, December 2005,Vol.20, Nr.12, page 139

Comment on Nov. 11, 2012: Chronic pain can indicate that the patient may be hormone deficient. When hormones are tested, some patients may be hypothyroid, others may lack steroid hormones like testosterone, estrogen, progesterone or DHEA as is normal with the aging process. In these cases often restoration of the hormone balance with bio-identical hormones can treat the pain condition successfully and can prevent cancer by restoring normal immune function.

Last edited October 30, 2014

Apr
01
2004

Sucking Bite Does Not Remove Venom

How often have you heard the story that you should suck out the venom from a snakebite or insect bite. Researchers at the University of California at San Francisco have put this to the test. They injected a “mock venom”, which mimicked the composition of a venom without the poisonous effect, into eight male volunteers. This mock venom was radioactively labelled, so it could be traced. A vacuum pump, which simulated the sucking out of the wound, was applied after a few minutes and the amount of venom extraction was calculated by measuring the radioactivity of the extracted mock venom. To the surprise of the researchers only 2% of the mock venom had been sucked out on average.

Venom alert: Attempting to suck out a bite wound will not remove enough venom to make any difference for the total body venom load. It is much more important to not waste any time by applying a tight tourniquet above the bite wound (between the bite and the heart) and to call for an ambulance to rush the patient to the nearest Emergency Department where antitoxin for the venom treatment is available. To suck out a wound would only add mouth bacteria to the wound and could result in serious infections in addition to the poison.

Sucking Bite Does Not Remove Venom

Sucking Bite Does Not Remove Venom

Medical Post, Vol.40, No.12, March 23, 2004 (page 66).

Last edited December 8, 2012

Apr
01
2004

Acupuncture For Headaches Found Effective

For many years it was merely a clinical impression that some headache sufferers were helped by acupuncture. Over the years many attempted to show that acupuncture works for headaches, but the studies were done with too few patients to reach statistically meaningful results.

In a recent English study that was published by Andrew J Vickers et al. in the British Medical Journal on March 27, 2004 patients were randomly assigned to a conventional headache treatment protocol or to treatment with acupuncture. 401 patients were enrolled in this randomized study and the patients came from general practitioners in Wales and England. The patients all had similarly severe headaches or chronic headaches and had mainly migraines, but also tension type headaches. Several universities took part in the design of the study to ensure that the Cochrane criteria of evidence based medicine were adhered to. Headaches were measured according to a score that consisted of detailed standardized questionaires. Treatment with acupuncture consisted of 12 treatments over 3 months. The control headache group was treated with the usual care.

The headache sufferers were assessed at the 12 month point. There were significant differences in favor of the acupuncture treated patients. The acupuncture group had on average 22 fewer days of headaches per year than the control group. This resulted in 15% less medication use, 25% fewer doctor visits and 15% fewer sick days.

Acupuncture For Headaches Found Effective

Acupuncture For Headaches Found Effective

Acupuncture treated headache sufferers felt physically more active, they had more energy and they felt a positive change in their health.

More information about causes of headaches: http://nethealthbook.com/neurology-neurological-disease/common-causes-headaches/

British Medical Journal: BMJ 2004;328:744 (27 March).

Last edited October 26, 2014

Oct
01
2002

Harp Music After Heart Or Chest Surgery Reduces Pain By Seventy Percent

Believe it or not: Harp music following serious chest or heart surgery in 17 patients leads to pain relief according to Aragon and colleagues. They reported this mid September 2002 (Altern Ther Health Med 2002;8:p.52-60) and they were measuring blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate as well as pain and anxiety by psychological assessments to measure the effect on pain perception after listening to 20 minutes of harp music. The pain reduction was about 70% at the end of a 20 minute session and lasted at least 10 minutes (when the 20 minute and 30 minute point from the beginning of the harp music session were compared). This experiment documents the relaxation response, which is known from hypnotherapy as well and can also be brought on by meditation, yoga or prayer. The authors suggest that music therapy following surgeries could be utilized to promote healing and to reduce complications. Other health care settings where such a therapy might be useful would be in the treatment of anxiety disorders, where a reduction in anti-anxiety drugs under psychiatric guidance may be achievable.

Harp Music After Heart Or Chest Surgery Reduces Pain By Seventy Percent

Harp Music After Heart Or Chest Surgery Reduces Pain By Seventy Percent

Self hypnosis tapes can play an integral part of the mental readiness for an exercise program or a weight loss program as this site explains: On self hypnosis (nethealthbook.com)

Last edited October 25, 2014