Summary:

Paragraphs 6 through 11 read:  "Q: I want to tell you of my experience with Prozac so that no one else has to go through it. I had taken Xanax for several years for periodic stress. I used it only intermittently, when the stress of my job as a scrub nurse in the operating room was unbearable. This medication never caused me any problems, and I was never addicted to it.

My insurance required me to switch doctors. The new physician said that Xanax was addictive and prescribed Prozac instead. While on Prozac for only six weeks, I became a totally different person.

Increasingly, I took risks without regard to the outcome. On the way to work one day, I fantasized about how my car would look going over a bridge, with no thought of how this would affect me. I was lucid enough to recognize this as a medication problem, and I stopped taking Prozac immediately.

It took about a week to stop the risky behaviors, but at least I was aware of the nature of the drug. Not everyone reacts the same, but I think prescribers need to be more sensitive to how it can affect some patients.

A: The official Prozac label lists abnormal thinking , suicidal ideation and violent behaviors as rare but possible reactions to the drug. The Food and Drug Administration recently required that makers of antidepressants warn prescribers to monitor children closely for personality changes.

Your experience with Prozac suggests that some adults might also be susceptible to such reactions.
------------------------------------------------------------

MELATONIN CONQUERS MORNING MIGRAINES

Long Beach Press-Telegram (CA) - December 13, 2004
Author: Joe and Teresa Graedon
Q: Since the age of 23 I have had frequent migraine headaches. Through the years, many doctors have prescribed medicines to prevent them, but none has worked. Drugs can stop the migraine if I take them early enough, but they shouldn't be taken too often.

I was told the headaches would disappear at menopause, but instead they got worse. For the past 10 years I have awakened three or four times a week between 2 and 4 a.m. with a migraine. I look at my bedside clock when the headache wakes me.

I read an article about people taking melatonin for jet lag and wondered if my headaches were due to a body clock problem. The article didn't say anything about migraines, but I tried an experiment. I started taking one 3-mg melatonin tablet each evening, and I stopped waking up with a headache in the wee hours.

For years I have been avoiding all sorts of foods that might be migraine triggers. The success with melatonin made me brave, and I ate some of them. No headache, as long as I take the melatonin. I consider myself lucky and want to share my discovery.

A: You get credit for creative thinking. Scientists have also looked at the role of melatonin in treating migraine, and found these headaches might indeed be related to biorhythm disturbances. One study is titled: ``Melatonin, 3 mg, is effective for migraine prevention'' (Neurology, Aug. 24, 2004).

Q: I want to tell you of my experience with Prozac so that no one else has to go through it. I had taken Xanax for several years for periodic stress. I used it only intermittently, when the stress of my job as a scrub nurse in the operating room was unbearable. This medication never caused me any problems, and I was never addicted to it.

My insurance required me to switch doctors. The new physician said that Xanax was addictive and prescribed Prozac instead. While on Prozac for only six weeks, I became a totally different person.

Increasingly, I took risks without regard to the outcome. On the way to work one day, I fantasized about how my car would look going over a bridge, with no thought of how this would affect me. I was lucid enough to recognize this as a medication problem, and I stopped taking Prozac immediately.

It took about a week to stop the risky behaviors, but at least I was aware of the nature of the drug. Not everyone reacts the same, but I think prescribers need to be more sensitive to how it can affect some patients.

A: The official Prozac label lists abnormal thinking , suicidal ideation and violent behaviors as rare but possible reactions to the drug. The Food and Drug Administration recently required that makers of antidepressants warn prescribers to monitor children closely for personality changes.

Your experience with Prozac suggests that some adults might also be susceptible to such reactions.

Q: What, exactly, is the difference between ibuprofen and acetaminophen? For what symptoms should one be used instead of the other?

A: Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), somewhat similar to aspirin. It lowers fever, relieves pain and reduces inflammation associated with sprains, strains and arthritis. Acetaminophen also diminishes a fever and relieves pain but is less likely to ease inflammation.

The biggest difference between these drugs is digestive tract upset. Acetaminophen doesn't usually cause such problems, but ibuprofen, aspirin and other NSAIDs can trigger heartburn or even ulcers. Long-term regular use of acetaminophen was recently linked to an increased risk of kidney problems.

Q: I was just prescribed lovastatin for high cholesterol. I am disappointed to see that grapefruit and its juice are ``banned.'' Why? What would happen if I combined the two?

Is there any cholesterol medicine that does not preclude grapefruit consumption?

A: Cholesterol-lowering drugs like Mevacor (lovastatin), Zocor (simvastatin) and Lipitor (atorvastatin) are all affected by grapefruit. Blood levels of these medications rise, and there may be an increased risk of side effects.

Grapefruit blocks an enzyme that processes dozens of medicines, including BuSpar, Cordarone, Tegretol and Viagra. All may be more dangerous if grapefruit is consumed within a day or two of taking the medicine.

We are sending you our Guides to Grapefruit Interactions and Cholesterol Drugs, with more detailed information on this issue. Anyone who would like copies, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (60 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. JL-97, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.

Some cholesterol-lowering drugs are not affected by grapefruit. Ask your doctor if Crestor, Lescol or Pravachol would be appropriate for you.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York NY 10019, or e-mail them at pharmacy(at sign)mindspring.com or via their Web site: www.peoplespharmacy.com on the HealthCentral.com network.
Edition: AM
Section: U
Page: U5
Column: People's Pharmacy
Record Number: 0412150087
Copyright (c) 2004 Press-Telegram
To bookmark this article, right-click on the link below, and copy the link location:
MELATONIN CONQUERS MORNING MIGRAINES