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From the pharmacy.

Editor's Note: Pharmacists are an integral, and sometimes untapped, part of the healthcare maintenance team. If you have a question about medications, write to: Cara Acklin, Pharm.D.; From the Pharmacy; 1100 Waterway Blvd.; Indianapolis, IN 46202.

[X] All About Arimidex: To H.M. from Parma, Ohio: Arimidex is used to decrease the risk of recurrence of breast cancer that is hormone receptor positive. The drug works by decreasing the amount of estrogen in postmenopausal women, therefore reducing the risk of breast cancer relapse. The most common side effects of this drug are hot flashes, joint symptoms, weakness, mood changes, pain, sore throat, nausea and vomiting, depression, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, swelling of arms/legs, and headache. Arimidex is an "add-on" treatment used in combination with surgery and sometimes radiation. It should not be used alone. In addition, Arimidex should not be taken with tamoxifen or any other product that contains hormones.

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[X] Generic Options: To L.S. from Sandusky, Ohio: Generic verions of Altace, Fosamax, Zetia, and Avandia are not currently available. It is difficult to predict when a generic drug will be released. Of the drugs you mention, Altace and Fosamax are expected to be the first ones available generically, perhaps in 2008. Avandia and Zetia still have many years of patent protection. You might consider speaking with your doctor about possible drug alternatives--medicines that are in the same class as the ones you are taking but with generic versions available.

[X] Tapering Medicines: To W.K., from Crookston, Minnesota: Some people experience side effects when tapering off

Cymbalta and other antidepressants. As a result, withdrawal from these drugs should be supervised and managed by a doctor. In general, doctors will prescribe gradually lower doses of Cymbalta over a period of weeks to months. It is important to taper this medication because the body has become used to the drug's effect and requires time to adjust to its discontinuation. Please note that tapering is achieved by slowly decreasing the drug strength--never by skipping doses of the medication altogether.

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[X] 'Treating Scars: To V.Von E., from Middlelboro, Massachusetts: Yes, Mederma is a good option to try on a new or old scar. The gel is more economical than other scar removal treatments currently available, and should diminish the appearance of the scar. Depending on the scar's severity, however, it may not completely remove it. Mederma is applied three times daily for eight weeks on new scars and three times a day for three to six months on old scars. For optimal results, consistent use is important.

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Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Jan 1, 2008
Words:434
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