Have a burning question about the medications you are taking, let Dr. Cooper, The Pharmacist help!  Post your question here, and Dr. Cooper will provide the best answer possible.  Please note, because Dr. Cooper does not know your case personally, it is encouraged that you make an appointment for a medication consultation and follow-up with your attending physician(s), as he is not responsible for outcomes based on response(s) to questions.

Dr. Cooper, I have seen commercials on the drug “Linzess,” could you give me any information on this drug and how it differs from a laxative or stool softener? (Does it have any potential side effects?) Also, would you become dependent on this drug and have to take it for life? Thank you! 11. September 2014

Great question. Thank you. Linzess has two main uses. It’s used when patients have been constipated for long periods of time for unknown reasons. And it’s used in patients that have irritable bowel syndrome and constipation at the same time. It works by increasing the amount of fluid in the GI tract. When the amount of fluid in the GI tract is increased, food doesn’t get a chance to settle and food moves through the GI tract faster. Linzess is not the kind of medication that causes dependency but you would have to take it everyday for it to work and it could be the only medication that works for patients. The number one side effect is diarrhea. Also people say they have experienced headaches, dehydration, acid reflux, fatigue. Linzess differs from a laxative in that laxatives increase pressure in your GI tract by causing it to hold onto water and expand leading to expulsion of the contents. Linzess differs from stool softeners in that stool softeners bind the fat and water content in the GI tract making defecation easier. Linzess works at a deeper level than laxatives and stool softeners. I hope this helps. Be sure to ask me any follow up questions you may have.

Hi, Dr. Cooper my name s from Martha i am almost 65 in a few more week on the 27th my question is what is the best medicine for RA i can not take anything with NSAIDS in it and i use to enjoy exercising but my knees hurt so bad it makes it hard to walk at time i would love to get back to just the regular things in life is there anything that i can do or take? And by the way i was born in Wilson North Carolina. Thank You In Advance 5. September 2014

Hello Martha. Thanks for your question. This a great question because it is difficult for a lot of people to take NSAIDS for RA symptoms. There is a such thing as the best medication for you and your body type. I recommend finding a clinician that can do such an evaluation for you. There are lots of great non-NSAID medications that can provide relief. Medications like Methotrexate, Prednisone, Humira, and Enbrel, etc., are some of the better ones. These medications in combination with joint support and light and low intensity strengthening exercises long term will certainly help. I definitely want you to get back to the regular things in life because I’m sure you deserve. I’m here to answer any questions you. Thank you a lot. Anytime for a fellow North Carolinian.

Why did they change the formulation on OxyContin the one now doesn’t seem as potent when taken 27. August 2014

Hello. Great question. Thank you. The new formulation of Oxycontin was made to reduce the risk of overdose and abuse. People who abuse the medication were doing all kinds of things like crushing and dissolving the tablets down for snorting and injecting. Now, patients with moderate to severe pain can still get high doses with the new formulation for pain and can take the medication less often because it stays in the body longer and won’t have to worry about overdosing as much. And the new formulation is a strong step to prevent drug abuse.

Is it alright to take hydrocodone and drink a light beer? I fell on Saturday and hurt my knee. My doctor prescribed me hydrocodone for 30 days. My birthday is tomorrow. 26. August 2014

Happy Birthday. Great question. And thank you. It is very important and urgent to avoid or limit the amount of alcohol you consume when taking Hydrocodone. It doesn’t matter what the dose of medication is. The limit is less than 3 alcoholic drinks per day. Its best to avoid alcohol all together. Alcohol increases the effect of Hydrocodone. Hydrocodone and Alcohol increases the risk of damage to your liver. Hydrocodone and Alcohol effect your ability to breathe normally. Hydrocodone and Alcohol can effect your ability to think straight and clearly. These things really do happen to patients. However, be careful, remember the limits and enjoy your birthday.

Is it common to experience headaches while taking birth control or should I switch to some other kind/method? 3. August 2014

Yes. It is very common to experience headaches while taking birth control. The hormones that make up birth control are the contributing factor, most likely the estrogen hormone component in birth control. While you may not need to stop your birth control, you may need to switch to one with a lower hormone composition, specifically a lower estrogen composition and in some cases a lower progesterone composition. Whatever the case, lowering the dosage should alleviate the headaches you are experiencing. Great question.

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