Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
In honor of Independence Day, Richmond Times-Dispatch is providing unlimited access to all of our content from June 28th-July 4th! Presented by Brown Distributing
The People’s Pharmacy

The People's Pharmacy: How much Pepto-Bismol prevents traveler's diarrhea?

  • 0

QUESTION: Now that COVID-19 is becoming less of a problem, my husband and I are looking forward to a long-delayed trip to Mexico. I know that a daily dose of Pepto-Bismol is recommended when traveling to certain countries, but I can’t recall the correct dosage. Can you help?

ANSWER: A study published in JAMA (March 13, 1987) reported that two Pepto-Bismol tablets four times a day was 65% effective at preventing traveler’s diarrhea. One tablet four times daily was 40% effective. A meta-analysis of 14 clinical trials confirms that bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) triples your chance of avoiding traveler’s diarrhea (Digestive Diseases and Sciences, July 2021). (Most of the authors of this analysis work for Procter & Gamble, maker of Pepto-Bismol). You’ll still need to be cautious about what you eat and drink.

Keep in mind that Pepto-Bismol will probably turn your stool black. That looks alarming, but if you are well, it should not be dangerous.

QUESTION: You’ve written about “authorized generics” in the past. Greenstone used to make one for the antidepressant sertraline, but now has discontinued manufacturing it. Is there an authorized generic sertraline available at all?

I’m not sure if the brand name (Zoloft) is available, but it’s astronomically cost prohibitive anyway. Any help or info would be much appreciated.

ANSWER: Greenstone has been merged into a larger company, Viatris, which also absorbed Mylan and the Upjohn division of Pfizer. Previously, Greenstone manufactured many authorized generic versions of Pfizer brand-name drugs. For authorized generic drugs, the brand-name maker licenses the product and supplies the precise recipe or even the pills themselves. Consequently, an authorized generic is extremely similar or possibly identical to the brand name. Greenstone stopped supplying sertraline in October 2021.

You are not the only person who misses the authorized generic. Another reader wrote:

“I haven’t felt well since I was switched from Zoloft to generic sertraline. My insurance will not pay for Zoloft, and it is too expensive for me. The only generic that worked for me was Pfizer’s own generic for Zoloft: Greenstone. But the pharmacist cannot find any. It makes no sense to take cheaper medication if it isn’t effective.”

Brand-name Zoloft could cost as much as $450 for a month’s supply. However, there may be another option. PharmacyChecker.com lists several Canadian online pharmacies that accept American prescriptions. The cost for brand-name Zoloft runs from about $25 to $85 a month.

QUESTION: I am curious about the thyroid status of the readers who have written to you about their bleeding fingertips.

I was diagnosed as hypothyroid at age 10. I’m 75 now, so I have over 60 years of observation, experience and research.

My prescribed dosage of thyroid meds over the years has varied. Without enough thyroid medicine, my fingertips split and bleed in the winter months. When I have enough thyroid med, that doesn’t happen.

ANSWER: Others have reported similar experiences. Dry, cracking skin is a red flag for hypothyroidism.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. You can email them via their website: www.PeoplesPharmacy.com

© 2022 King Features Syndicate Inc.

0 Comments

Related to this story

Most Popular

Airbnb says it’s making its party ban permanent. The short-term-rental company said Tuesday that the temporary ban it put into effect in 2020 is working, so it decided to make it permanent. The company says reports of parties at listed properties have dropped 44% from a year ago. Airbnb has been trying to crack down on parties since late 2019, after a fatal shooting at a rented house in California. While making the ban permanent, Airbnb is lifting a capacity limit on some rentals. Airbnb says some property owners want to eliminate the limit of 16 people at large properties.

A huge Belgian chocolate factory has halted production after detecting salmonella in a batch of chocolates. The Barry Callebaut company said Thursday that its plant in Wieze shut down all production lines as a precaution while the contamination is investigated. Barry Callebaut produces chocolate for multiple brands sold around the world, and it says the Wieze plant is the world’s largest chocolate factory. The company says the salmonella was detected on Monday, and all chocolate products made at the plant were placed on hold. It said it informed Belgian food safety authorities and is contacting customers who may have contaminated products.

After two years of pandemic restrictions, travel demand is back, but airlines and airports that slashed jobs during the depths of the COVID-19 crisis are struggling to keep up. With the busy summer tourism season underway in Europe, passengers are encountering chaotic scenes at airports, including lengthy delays, canceled flights and headaches over lost luggage. The head of Europe’s biggest airline warned the turmoil would last all summer. Data from aviation consultancy Cirium says that nearly 2,000 flights from major continental European airports were canceled during one week this month. It’s a similar story in the United States, where airlines canceled thousands of flights over two days last week because of bad weather just as crowds of summer tourists grow.

Tens of thousands of suburban swing voters who helped fuel the Democratic Party’s gains of recent years are suddenly becoming Republicans. Overall, more than 1 million voters across 43 states have switched to the Republican Party over the last year. That's according to voter registration data analyzed by The Associated Press. They include both former Democrats and those previously unaffiliated with either major party. The phenomenon is playing out in virtually every region of the country — red states, blue states, in cities and in small towns — in the months since President Joe Biden replaced former President Donald Trump.

The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that had provided a constitutional right to abortion. The June 24 ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. In anticipation of the decision, several states led by Democrats have taken steps to protect abortion access. The decision also sets up the potential for legal fights between the states over whether providers and those who help women obtain abortions can be sued or prosecuted.

Advisers to the U.S. government are recommending that COVID-19 booster shots used this fall be modified to better match more recent variants of the coronavirus. A final decision from the Food and Drug Administration is expected within days, and it will have to set the exact recipe for the change. Pfizer and Moderna tested shots updated against the omicron mutant that surged last winter. But those shots are already somewhat outdated, with relatives of omicron now the main threat. Advisers said they have no crystal ball for what might spread this fall.

Listen now and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | RSS Feed | Omny Studio

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News