Keep An Eye On Non-Prescription Medications

Non-prescription medications are not necessarily as innocuous as many people think.

Newer antihistamines claim to be non-drowsy, however they would be better termed “reduced drowsiness!”  Children can have unpredictable reactions to drugs and these new antihistamines have been associated with effects such as behavioral changes, headache and skin eruptions in kids.  Convulsions have even occurred!  Always weigh the pros & cons in consultation with your pharmacist.

It’s important for both health care providers and patients to be vigilant for adverse effects with their medications to ensure problems are managed quickly.

An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association has pointed to a link between sildenafil (Viagra®), used for erectile dysfunction, and an increased risk of melanoma – a form of skin cancer.  The overall numbers were still low but suggest the need to investigate further.

With all the news about sun protection and skin cancer, it’s worth knowing that some sun exposure is actually good for your health!

A 20-year Swedish study of over 30,000 women found that sun avoidance led to a life expectancy equivalent to smokers – that is, getting NO sun is as bad for you as smoking!  While they didn’t identify an effective “dose” of sunshine, benefits increased with increased exposure – as did skin cancer, but also with a better prognosis.

Although some sun exposure can be considered healthy, too much can lead to uncomfortable burns, aging of the skin and increased risk of skin cancer.  Sunscreens help to offset these risks, but only if they are used properly.  Choose an SPF of 30-45 and make sure it is a broad spectrum product to block both UVB and UBA rays.  Apply liberally, about 1 oz (2 tablespoonsful) before going out and re-apply every 2 hours – more often with water exposure or perspiration.

There is a dizzying array of sunscreens on the market and some are better than others.  Also, one size does not fit all, so talk to our pharmacists about which product is the best one for your skin and activities.