Q. I am taking Zoloft for depression, and it has worked wonders to improve my mood. Unfortunately, it makes it hard for me to sleep.
My doctor prescribed Ambien. It worked for a while but is now losing effectiveness. Are there any nondrug solutions for my insomnia?
A. You may want to inquire about a different antidepressant, since drugs like Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil frequently affect sleep. Your doctor might be able to prescribe an older anti-depressant that would actually help you get to sleep.Taking a hot bath an hour before bedtime can help. As your temperature drops, your body responds by getting sleepy. Melatonin helps some people, while others may benefit from the herb valerian. Do check with your doctor about any such alternative approaches. We are sending you our "Guides to Getting a Good Night's Sleep and Herbal Remedies," with more information on drug-induced insomnia and natural solutions for sleeplessness. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $2 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (60 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. IE-57, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.
Q. I am always interested in the arthritis remedies I find in your column. After reading that turmeric could help, I bought some and took the pills according to directions. Several days later I had such a terrible rash that I had to go to the doctor for prednisone. I'll never do that again.
A. We hope you are doing better. Your story is an important reminder that people can develop allergies to natural products as well as to pharmaceuticals. You are wise to avoid turmeric in the future. Keep in mind that it may be found in curry and yellow mustard as well.
Q. My husband has a plantar wart on the bottom of his foot. It is on the front pad near the big toe. Have any of your readers been successful with home remedies?
A. We've been collecting wart remedies for more than 30 years. Plantar warts are found on the bottom of the foot and can be notoriously difficult to treat. Surgery may be painful and is no guarantee that the wart will not return. Here are some of the remedies our readers have shared:
"Years ago my daughter had eight plantar warts on the bottoms of her feet. She could hardly walk, and I tried everything to no avail. A friend suggested squeezing fresh lemon juice on them three or four times a day. We had nothing to lose, so we tried it. Those warts turned black and fell off. She was completely healed within four weeks."
& quot;My husband's golf partner gave us the best advice: IODINE. I painted my grandson's plantar wart with iodine morning and night for six weeks. It went away, no pain, just patience. The cost was less than $2." Thirty to 90 minutes a week soaking the affected foot in water at 110 degrees can eliminate plantar warts in about six weeks. People have also reported success with duct tape on plantar warts: Cut a piece of duct tape the size of the wart. Put it over the wart for a week. Remove it, soak the foot in warm water, scrape the wart with an emery board and cover it with new duct tape the following day.
XIn their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them at email@example.com or via their Web site.
& copy; 2005 King Features Syndicate Inc.