Q. I have noticed quite a few skin tags appearing on my body. I have had one or two of the larger flaps cut off by my doctor.
I was fascinated to read in your column that a reader had success getting rid of skin tags by putting special Band-Aids on them. I tried this but could never get a bandage to stay on long enough.
I was about to give up when I ran across some liquid bandage in my medicine cabinet. I had a large flap growing on my shoulder and put the New Skin Liquid Bandage on it. Within a week, the flap fell off.
I put it on some smaller skin tags, and they shriveled and fell off, too. Have you heard of this before, or have I discovered an alternate way to get rid of these unsightly skin growths?
A. Skin tags are benign, fleshy growths that commonly appear in skin folds such as under the arms, in the groin area or on the neck. They can also show up on the face. They are common and not dangerous. Dermatologists can remove them surgically or with an electric needle.
A few years ago, a reader suggested applying Band-Aid Clear Spots tightly over skin tags to get rid of them in a week or two. Your technique sounds a little easier, and we will be interested to learn if it works for others.
Q. My mother recently had emergency surgery (two days after planned hip-replacement surgery) to repair an ulcer that had left a hole the size of a half dollar in her stomach. She had been taking Mobic before her hip surgery.
Please alert your readers to the dangers of NSAIDs. They must be informed about the risks of these drugs, particularly for the elderly.
A. It has been estimated that more than 100,000 people are hospitalized each year because of adverse reactions to NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). More than 15,000 people die, often because of complications caused by bleeding or perforated ulcers. Drugs in this class include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren), meloxicam (Mobic), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) and indomethacin (Indocin).
In addition to digestive-tract damage, NSAIDs can raise blood pressure, increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, as well as injure kidneys and the liver. We offer more information about such medicines and ways to reduce stomach damage and ease joint pain in our Guides to Alternatives for Arthritis and Digestive Disorders.
Q. Is there a generic for the depression drug Paxil? I have already fallen into the "doughnut hole" in Part D (Drug Coverage) of Medicare and would like a substitute for Paxil if one is available.
A. When Medicare patients enter the doughnut hole, they must pay 100 percent of their medication bill. Paxil can cost around 100 a month. The generic paroxetine is available for about a third as much.
Q. Are there any effective treatments for age spots on the hands and face?
A. A compound called hydroquinone (Porcelana, Eldoquin, Esoterica, etc.) has been used for decades to bleach brown spots (liver spots) caused by aging and sun exposure. The Food and Drug Administration is considering a ban of this ingredient, however, because of animal data suggesting that it might promote cancer.
In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of The Vindicator or e-mail them via their Web site: www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.
& copy; 2006 King Features Syndicate Inc.