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August 5, 2008

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32 TUESDAY, AUGUST S- THURSDAY, AUGUST 7, 2008 HEALTH & FITNESS cape 00azette Beware of unexpected drug side effeq 'its ntihistamines like Be- nadryl (diphenhy- dramine) often make people drowsy. No surprise. Antibiotics frequently cause diarrhea and digestive upset, be- cause they wipe out helpful in- testinal bacteria along with the infection. Doctors often warn patients about such predictable side ef- fects, but other side effects may slip past the experts because they are unexpected. Antidepressants such. as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft belong in a class caned SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Hardly anyone is surprised if such a medication causes anxi- ety or insomnia. Psychological side effects seem consistent with a drug that affects the brain. New rese*arch suggests, though, that these SSRI antide- pressants also increase the risk for bleeding ulcers (Archives of General Psychiatry, July 2008). These drugs have been on the market for two decades, but only in the past several years have re- searchers recognized a link be- tween upper gastrointestinal bleeding and these antidepres- sants. Part of the .delay is because our medical system is fragment- ed. Psychiatrists prescribe anti- depressants, but they rarely see people with serious digestive distress. Gastroenterologists see peo- ple with bad bellyaches but may not associate a hemorrhage in the stomach with an antidepres- sant. When the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing, patients can suffer. Uncoordi- nated care can lead to complica- flops from many medications. Take antibiotics, for example. Doctors often prescribe drugs like Cipro or Levaquin for sinus or urinary-tract infections. One side effect of these medications that might come as a surprise is tendon rupture. ' One reader shared this story: "I took Levaquin to treat a lung 00ection. After five days, I no- ticed tightness in my left Achilles' tendon that hampered my ability to walk. Three days later, my left ankle was so swollen, I could hardly hobble. An MRI showed a completely severed Achilles' tendon. I need- ed surgery and then spent six weeks in a wheelchair." Who would guess that a snapped Achilles' tendon could be the consequence of treating bronchitis with an antibiotic? Hundreds of drugs have unex- pected side effects. The popular class of reflux medications that includes Aciphex, Nexium, Prilosec and Protonix has been linked to hip fractures (Journal of the American Medical Associ- ation, Dec. 27, 2006). Because these heartburn drugs are so effective at sup- pressing acid, they may interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients such as calcium. Theo- retically, this could contribute to weakened bones. The doctors who deal with pa- tients' heartburn symptoms usu- ally aren't consulted if a patient breaks a hip. The orthopaedic surgeons who fix broken hips may not link such fractures to medication taken for reflux. It can take a long time for the Food and Drug Atration (FDA) to warn the public about unexpected drug side effects, such as tendon rupture with Cipro-type antibiotics. Even though epilepsy medi- cines have been on the market for many decades, it is only now that the FDA is considering a black box warning about the po- tential for these drugs to cause suicidal behavior. To help the FDA discover unanticipated reactions to pre- scription medications, such side effects should be reported to MedWatch at wwwdagovAned- watch/. Editor's note: Joe 6raedon is a pharnmcologist, Teresa Graedon is a meclical anthropologi Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave. New York, NY 10019, or via their website at Papastavros offers first digital mammography tests in Sussex Patients get better accuracy, speed Digital imaging technology has made mammography films obso- lete. They eliminate the need to carry bulky envelopes from the imaging center to the doctor's of- rice or store films in a large off- site storage area. Additionally, radiologists have the ability to analyze mammography images and provide accurate interpreta- tions of these critical breast-can- cer detection tests. The difference is like going from an analog camera using darkroom-developed film to a top-of-the-line digital camera. Not only does digital equipment make it possible to share images electronically, but it also can im- prove accuracy. "We're the first in Sussex County to offer digital mammog- raphy. The images are amazing, offer improved quality, and pa- tients no longer have to wait for their mammogram films to de- velop," said Lisa Daniello, imag- ing center manager. "This change represents an amazing step forward in patient care, especially for younger women who have dense breasts," said Dr. Satyajit Samngi, a Papas- tavros radiologist who is fellow- ship trained in reading mammo- grams. "Digital mammography can capture the entire breast tis- sue and has better cancer detec- tion rates. Unlike an analog mammogram, which is almost like looking through waxed pa- per in younger women, a digital mammogram provides excellent contrast so we can better find any problems. "uother advantage of digital is that we can quickly get a sec- ond opinion from one of our partners on mammograms that are difficult to diagnose" he said. "We can also instantly pull up previous mammograms to corn- pare to previous years. And we can turn around our reports more quickly." Papastavros Medical Imaging Associates Imaging Center is lo- cated at 33672 Bayview Medical Drive, in Lewes. For more infor- mation, call 644-2590. Your Life, Your Shoes The Nicolette ,00OMFORT,k-, /mtm ,r,-Gm.,m tuss CoasUd awy. of going to Bayhealth offers labor, childbirth series Bayhealth Medical Center of- fers a five-week labor and child- birth series for expectant moth- ers and their partners at Milford Memorial HospitaL This program was developed to teach mothers-to-be and their partners what to expect during the labor and delivery process, no matter what type of delivery experience is desired. It includes professional instruction by a cer- tiffed professional childbirth ed- ucator, all materials and a tour of the Maternal/Child Unit includ- ing the birthing suites. Partici- pants should wear comfortable clothes and bring two pillows and a blanket. Mothers-to-be are encouraged to call early in their pregnancy to register for an available class be- ginning at least eight weeks be- fore their due date. Preregistration is required by calling Bayhealth's Education Department at 302-744-7135 or toll-free at 877-453-7107.