Q: What is the difference between Claritin and Clarinex?
A: Clarinex is the active metabolite of Claritin. Claritin, and its generics, has been available in other countries without a prescription for years. Schering Plough recently lost its patent rights in the United States. This means there is no longer a monopoly on the product because other makers can produce generic versions of Claritin. Claritin also has gained over-the-counter status, which made it less profitable. Schering then came out with Clarinex to maintain its competition with the other prescription allergy medications.
Q: Can you tell me about the drug Ketek?
A: Ketek is a new antibiotic in a class similar to that of Erythromycin, Zithromax and Biaxin. It is indicated for chronic and acute bacterial sinusitis and mild to moderate community-acquired pneumonia. It is intended for people older than 18 who do not have myasthenia gravis, heartbeat irregularities, electrolytic imbalances or liver dysfunction.
This medication also might cause visual disturbances blurred and double vision and difficulty focusing. Most adverse events were limited to diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and headache. Ketek has not been studied in pregnant women enough to urge its use during pregnancy.
The good news about this drug is that the dose is usually 800 milligrams daily for five to 10 days. It can be taken with or without food.
Q: My Ortho Evra patch won't stick. Am I using it wrong?
A: According to the instructions, you should place the patch on a clean, dry area that will not be rubbed by clothing. You can put it on your buttock, upper back, upper arm or abdomen. Never put it on your breasts. You should alternate sites each time to avoid skin irritation.
If it does come off, do not try to reapply it by using tape or bandages because if it does not adhere to the skin, it will not work. You must change the patch within 24 hours to be on the safe side. Any longer than that, you should use a backup form of birth control.
Q: Is it OK to take Ultram and Elavil together to control nerve pain?
A: Ultram is used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. Elavil is a tricyclic antidepressant that often is used to treat nerve pain. Ultram should not be used with the tricyclic or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants. Ultram and tricyclic antidepressants used together can cause certain arrhythmias, which can be fatal.
Q: Is there any antidepressant that does not have sexual side effects?
A: Sexual dysfunction is the major cause of noncompliance to antidepressant therapy. This is an adverse effect that is common to all of the antidepressant groups.
Angela Neglia, a licensed pharmacist in Georgia, gives general answers to common questions. Her answers are not intended to replace the medical advice of a physician. E-mail questions to askRPh@hotmail.com or call toll free (877) 373-7850 and leave a message.
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