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Dear Doc.

Q. i recently had a sore throat which was pretty spectacular causing one side of my face to swell and making swallowing difficult.

My GP diagnosed me as having quinsy, which sounds quite Victorian. Can you explain what was going on.

A. Quinsy does sound like the sort of thing your Victorian heroine took to her bed with and died.

It is generally a condition that responds to treatment with antibiotics, though very occasionally can require surgery.

The tonsils are infected with bacteria, which develops into a boil behind and within the tonsil causing it to swell, which make swallowing incredibly uncomfortable.

Usually high doses of penicillin will fix it but occasionally drainage or removal of the tonsil is required.

Q. I HAVE recently had one of my medicines stopped abruptly because the company has withdrawn the drug Vioxx from the market.

I have had to visit my doctor for an alternative to be prescribed only to find that my flu vaccination has had to be postponed because there is a problem with the suppliers.

Is this a regular problem, or is it indicative of a bigger problem.

A. THERE has always been fairly strict control over quality and safety of medicines, and these two incidents illustrate this.

With Vioxx it has been safety concerns and with one manufacturer of flu vaccine there has been a quality control issue.

The latter is obviously the easier one to resolve and usually can be rectified in a few weeks.

The former is often the end of that particular drug and often only becomes apparent when large numbers of people have been prescribed the drug.

Is it becoming a more frequent problem?

Yes, almost certainly, in my view, as society becomes more litigious drug companies will become ever more sensitive to any changes in risks associated with their products be they perceived or actual.

Please bear with your GPs who are trying to sort out the mess for hundreds of patients.

HAVE you a question for our Gazette doctor?

Write to: Dear Doctor, Features Desk, Evening Gazette Borough Road, Middlesbrough TS1 3AZ. Email:
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Family Life
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Oct 18, 2004
Previous Article:Family agonies.
Next Article:Health checks.

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