Jennifer Gold

Jennifer Gold

Grapefruit juice can delay, increase or enhance the reaction of some drugs. Check your prescription labels for warnings of potentially dangerous grapefruit interactions.

Friday, 11 October 2013 19:55

Taking Acetaminophen Safely

FDA's new video, "Taking Acetaminophen Safely" is the latest installment of the Medicines in My Home series. It provides background about acetaminophen, a common over-the-counter pain reliever and fever reducer, and the many different types of medications that might contain acetaminophen; the danger of taking more acetaminophen than directed; how to learn if acetaminophen is in a medicine by looking at the Drug Facts label; and how to take acetaminophen safely. It also encourages consumers to contact their healthcare professionals if they have questions or concerns.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) are investigating a growing number of reports of acute non-viral hepatitis in Hawaii. There have been 29 cases of acute non-viral hepatitis with an unknown cause identified in the state. The Hawaii DOH has reported that 24 of these cases share a common link to a dietary supplement product labeled as OxyElite Pro. Eleven of the 29 cases have been hospitalized with acute hepatitis, two cases have received liver transplants and one person has died. CDC is also looking at other cases of liver injury nationwide that may be related.

Consumers and health care professionals will soon find updated labeling for extended-release and long-acting opioid pain relievers to help ensure their safe and appropriate use.

In March 2013, we described a case in which a number of 9- and 10-year old children were taken to hospitals after they had ingested what they thought were breath mints but were actually nicotine replacement lozenges. The “mints” had been brought to school by a classmate. Unfortunately, we have learned of a similar incident, this time involving melatonin strips.

In February, the Chicago Sun Times reported that 16 elementary school children had been taken to local hospitals with a sudden illness. The children were 9- and 10-year olds who began vomiting after eating “mints” given to them by another classmate. It was later found that these “mints” were actually nicotine-replacement lozenges, called NiQuitin Minis (Figure 1 on page 3). (NiQuitin is a product from the United Kingdom that is sold online; however, the Nicorette brand made in the US has a similar product.) The classmate found the lozenges at home and brought them to school to share.

Consumers should also be aware of potential safety issues involving the phosphate content in Fleet enemas. This is especially true in elderly patients, who may use more than just one enema at a time and risk metabolic disorders and fatalities. When a Fleet enema is used, a second dose in quick succession to the first should not be used. Prolonged use or overuse can also lead to dehydration as well as fluid and electrolyte imbalances.

Tuesday, 03 September 2013 18:48

New warnings for common antibiotic class

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requiring a label update to warn of the risk of nerve damage from a very important class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones. These are 6 commonly used antibiotics that include Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, Noroxin, Floxin and Factive. The warnings are for oral or injectable quinolones, not eye or ear drop formulations.

After high school, many young adults, ages 18 through 24, look forward to new and exciting opportunities. Many of them leave home for college, work, or military service. They feel extremely independent and able to handle most situations. With the use of technology, they can usually find the help and answers they need within minutes when problems arise. But, this can also be a very stressful time in life. If your child needs to take medicine to treat a medical condition, mistakes can happen. This can lead to a life-threatening situation. The question is, should they turn to the Internet for answers?

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Medicines play an important role in treating many conditions and diseases, but when they are no longer needed it’s important to dispose of them properly to avoid harm to others. Below, we list some disposal options and some special disposal instructions for you to consider when throwing out expired, unwanted, or unused medicines.