I was talking with a woman the other day and she told me that she had run out of blood pressure pills, so she started taking her husband’s. “Is that okay,” she asked innocently. Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard a question like this. After all, it’s all blood pressure medicine, or the same diabetes pills or the same heart medication.
No, no, no!

There are about ten different types of blood pressure lowering medicines out there. The same is true for medications to treat other ailments. They work in different ways and have their own side effects. Using the wrong medication cannot only fail to treat the ailment, but it could also have disastrous effects.

Please, take only the medicine that has been prescribed for you by your doctor. In tight spots, ask your doctor to call in refills for you or send an electronic prescription to your pharmacy. If that fails, ask the pharmacy to kindly advance you enough pills for a day or so. They are not obligated to do it, but sometimes.

Q: “Super glue” can be used to mend skin wounds.
A: There’s an old saying, “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it.” Yes, super glues will work in a pinch to seal small wounds. By small, I mean cracks or paper cuts. But using them on deep or large wounds is not a good idea. Superglue can be toxic and delay healing. So we’re clear, super glues are not the same as tissue adhesives, which are used to close cuts. By the way, if you accidently get super glue on your skin, you can remove it with nail polish remover or acetone-based paint thinner.

Q: I’m diabetic, and I have to admit that I’m tired of sticking myself to inject my insulin. I was reading that there is new insulin that you can take by mouth coming soon.
A: There is insulin called Oralyn, but it is not approved in the United States yet. Oralyn is actually an oral spray instead of a tablet. You spray it into your mouth and the insulin is absorbed from the inner cheek. Each spray provides 10 units of insulin. It is an alternative to short-acting, injectable mealtime insulin. It could be an alternative to injectable insulin. But not yet.

?Q: One of my children is very resistant to taking cough medicine by mouth. I hear Vicks VapoRub can stop a cough if you apply it to the child’s feet.
A: Hmmm, assertions like this always make me skeptical, but I’m open to new things. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any proof that this works. But that hasn’t stopped people from claiming it does. On one hand, Vicks VapoRub is well known for easing chest congestion. But, now some websites say a study in Canada shows it eases coughs when applied to feet.

One catch. The group that supposedly published the study says they know nothing about it. So, my advice is this. If you want to give it a try, go ahead. It won’t hurt. Just make sure the kids wear socks so the oils in the medication don’t stain the sheets. One last thing, please don’t put it in the child’s nose. It can cause pneumonia.

Q: I’ve heard that a drug called Glymetrol can help maintain healthy blood glucose.
A: You probably heard this from an infomercial or an Internet ad. They claim it maintains healthy blood glucose, glucose metabolism, and insulin sensitivity. It’s bunk, at least based on the data. Glymetrol is a supplement containing a variety of natural ingredients that could affect glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. But there is no proof it does, nor that it’s safe. It combines all the side effects and drug interactions of its ingredient, which includes nausea, diarrhea, and flatulence. If you try it, please don’t take it with aspirin or warfarin, drugs that have anticoagulant properties.

What really makes me nervous about this drug is that manufacturer won’t disclose the amount of each ingredient in the product. Until it does that, I say stay away.

Do you have questions about your medication, concerns about a friend’s or relative’s prescription or just want to keep up with the latest developments. In that case, ask syndicated columnist Dr. Error! Reference source not found., a doctor of pharmacy and a registered pharmacist in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. She is assistant dean and associate professor at the Howard University School of Pharmacy and a member of numerous boards and associations, including the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, the District of Columbia Board of Pharmacy, the Nonprescription Medicines Academy, Rho Chi Honor Society, American Pharmacists Association and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, Please email her at questions@askyourpharmacistrx.com.


Dr. Daphne Bernard

Special to the AFRO