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Living: Doctor David.

Q I READ recently that there are now some tablets available to help me lose weight. When I asked my doctor, she told me I had to lose some weight before she would prescribe them for me. Surely this is not right?

AC, Sutton Coldfield

A SEVERAL years ago, most of the prescribable medications to aid weight loss were withdrawn due to an association with heart problems and even death.

There is a new treatment which has been available for the last couple of years called Orlistat. It can help reduce your weight by limiting the amount of fat absorbed by the gut.

In suitable cases, it can be very effective but the guidelines for prescribing it clearly state that the motivation of the patient should be proven by losing at least 2.5 kgs before commencing the medication.

If this is not possible, then the patient is unlikely to benefit from this drug.

Q OVER the last few months my 74-year-old father has begun to cause me concern. He is becoming increasingly forgetful but is happy to ramble on for hours about when he was younger. He left the back door open last night and he is always burning his dinner. What would you advise?

KS, Quinton

A I WOULD strongly advise you discuss your concerns with your father's doctor. The combination of forgetfulness related to short term memory, but preserved long term memory raises the possibility of Alzheimer's disease, which needs to be properly assessed and referred, if necessary, to an appropriate specialist.

Q I HAVE just returned from a holiday in Ibiza with a group of friends. Whilst out there I had a fling with a girl who I have never seen before or since. I have now noticed a discharge and I have become very sore. I am too embarrassed to tell my doctor.

IM, Wordsley

A IT sounds as if you have caught a sexually transmitted infection. I would strongly advise you to seek medical attention but if you cannot face your GP then you should contact your nearest Genito-Urinary clinic as a matter of urgency, where you will be given a confidential appointment. Your local health authority will be able to give you a contact telephone number.
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:May 20, 2001
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