The Truth About Xanax

Nearly everybody has heard something negative or weird about Xanax side effects (Xanax is the brand name of the generic drug Alprazolam). This article seeks to separate fact from fiction on a number of commonly asked questions, so you and your family can get the right information and make informed choices.

Fiction: Xanax stays in your body for weeks and months.

Fact: For a healthy adult, the average time taken for Xanax to leave the system is 11.2 hours. For a healthy adult aged over 65, Xanax will take an average of 16.3 hours to leave the body.

Fiction: You can get ‘permanent brain damage’ from using Xanax.

Fact: There is no evidence to show that Xanax causes any type of brain damage. However, research shows that there are some serious side effects, although they are quite rare. Here is a list of such:

– seizures (particularly if dosage is dicontinued abruptly)
– allergic reactions, including rash and anaphylaxis (a sudden, severe, potentially fatal, systemic allergic reaction that can involve various areas of the body)
blood disorders, including leucopenia and leucocytosis
– jaundice
– difficulty concentrating
– slurred or unusual speech
– double vision
– fear or anxiety
– altered sense of taste
– lack of inhibition
– muscle cramps or spasms
– urination problems
– tingling
– incontinence
– warmth
– weakness
– change in muscle tone
– yellow eyes and skin
– hyperexcitement or overstimulation
– hallucinations
– rage or other hostile behavior
– transient elevated liver function tests
– tremors
– insomnia or sleeping difficulties

Fiction: Once you get ‘hooked’ on Xanax it’s really hard to stop.

Fact: Because Xanax has a fast elimination rate from the body (compared with other drugs of its type), rebound and withdrawal symptoms are more prominent after discontinuation.

The risk of dependence or addiction is increased when:

– You’ve been taking more than 4 mg a day;
– You’ve been taking Xanax for a long period of time;
– You have a history of drug or alcohol abuse

You will feel as though you are addicted if you try to discontinue taking Xanax abruptly. This is commonly why people get so worried and frustrated about using this drug.

The best way to discontinue use is to taper the dosage. This means reducing the dose by small amounts on a regular basis, to help the body adjust accordingly and to reduce intake to zero. Tapering is an extremely effective method; it is recommended that Xanax dosage be decreased by no more than 0.5 mg every three days.

Fiction: Xanax will make you fat / Xanax will make you skinny.
You will not become “fat” or “skinny” from using Xanax. However, research has shown that Xanax does indeed increase food intake in humans.

Fact: For women Xanax use significantly increases food intake premenstrually compared to postmenstrually (particularly fatty foods). The study demonstrated how normally restrained eaters consumed 26% more calories premenstrually, whereas unrestrained eaters consumed 9% more calories.

Fiction: You will have no sex life whilst using Xanax

Fact: Yes, it is true that Alprazolam can cause a loss of sexual desire and function. This does not mean however that you will have no sex life. It simply means that you will have to talk to your doctor about what strategies are available to compensate for the Alprazolam’s effects. Some evidence suggests use of Viagra to counter the negative sexual side effects.

Uncommon but documented cases include: inhibited female orgasm (using 5 mg/day); impaired ejaculation (using 3.5 mg/day), decreased libido, impaired erection (using 4.5 mg/day); altered timing and pattern of menstruation (using 0.75 to 4 mg/day.)

Fiction: Xanax can be used as a ‘party drug’.

Fact: You are putting yourself at great risk if you misuse this medication. It is well known that overdoses of Alprazolam can cause unconsciousness, coma and death.

Combine this with the fact that alcohol increases the drowsiness and dizziness associated with Xanax, and you will quickly realise that this is not a drug to be abused at parties or for recreation. People die needlessly because of accidents involving alcohol and Xanax overdose.

Although this article ends on a decidedly solemn (but necessary) note, I hope it has been of genuine help to you!

Treating Acid Reflux The Natural Way

So how is Acid Reflux treated? One of the easiest cures for GERD, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, is referred to as life-style changes. This consists of a mixture of changing your routine, predominantly changing your food intake. There are quite a few modifications in eating practices that can be favorable in treating GERD.

Reflux is more likely to occur when patients with Acid Reflux lie down. Reflux of acid is more damaging at night than during the day. During nighttime, when human beings are lying down, it is easier for reflux to take place. The explanation for this is simple. Gravity is not holding back the reflux, as it does in the upright position during the day. Additionally, the lessening of the effect of gravity permits the refluxed fluid to pass further up the esophagus and stay in the esophagus for a longer period of time, causing more damage to the esophagus.

These problems can be partly conquered by careful positioning of the upper body in bed. You can elevate your body either by putting blocks underneath the bed’s headboard feet or by lying with your upper body positioned on a pillowed wedge. These activities raise the esophagus above the stomach, and, to some extent, reinstate the effects of gravity. Additionally, it is essential that the upper body and not just the head be raised. This elevation of the upper body at nighttime usually is suggested for all patients with GERD. Nonetheless, a good number of patients with GERD have reflux only during the day and elevation at nighttime is of little comfort to them.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to know for certain which patients will gain comfort from elevation at night. Not unless acid testing undoubtedly reveals night reflux. Conversely, patients who have regurgitation, heartburn, or other indications of GERD at night are perhaps experiencing reflux at night and certainly must use upper body elevation. Moreover, reflux also happens less often when patients lie on their left sides than on their right sides.

A variety of foods are known to increase reflux. These foods include chocolate, peppermint, caffeinated drinks, and alcohol. Fatty foods, which should be decreased, and smoking, which should be stopped, also decrease the pressure in the sphincter and promote reflux. Additionally, patients with GERD may discover that other foods worsen their symptoms. Some examples are spicy or acid-containing foods, carbonated beverages, tomato juice and citrus juices.

These foods should be avoided. Antacids are also known to reduce the problems brought about by Acid Reflux. Antacids are said to neutralize the acid in the stomach so that there is no acid to reflux. The dilemma with antacids is that their effectiveness is short. The best way to take antacids is about one hour after eating meals or just before the symptoms of reflux start after a meal. Antacids can be aluminum, calcium or magnesium based. Other treatments such as acid rebound, intake of histamine antagonists, proton-pump inhibitors, pro-motility drugs, foam barriers, surgery and endoscopy can be carried out and should be discussed with your doctor.

If you suspect you are suffering with Acid Reflux, you should first consult your primary care physician before taking other steps.

Cellulite: Treatments That Work

Cellulite is stubborn fat caught between bands of connective tissue causing a bumpy lumpy appearance on the hips, buttocks and thighs of most women and even some men.

Ninety percent of women have it. While hormones and age do play a role in the developing cellulite, they are not completely limiting factors. Cellulite can be reduced at any age.

Treatments

1. The first and most important thing you can do for cellulite reduction is exercise. Exercise may be broken down into Cardiovascular Exercise and Muscular Strength and Conditioning Exercise.

– Cardiovascular Exercise will help you to burn calories and lose some of the fat that is caught between the bands of connective tissue. In order for cardiovascular exercise to be effective, you must manage to fit in at least 30 minutes 3 times per week. This 30 minute interval may be broken down into three 10 minute segments, two 15 minute segments or one 30 minute segment. Keep in mind that your metabolism stays elevated for a few hours after you do your cardiovascular exercise, so you continue to burn more calories even after you are finished. Cardiovascular exercise also helps to increase circulation which is crucial to reducing the appearance of cellulite.

– Muscular strength and conditioning exercises will increase muscle tone in the cellulite prone areas and result in a smoother more attractive appearance. Picture a freshly filled balloon. It is full of air and therefore very smooth. Now consider the skin covering your cellulite prone areas like the balloon. If you have lots of nice muscle tissue underneath, it will press up on the fat that is underneath and make it appear smoother. If you’re a women, do not fear becoming too muscular from strength training.

2. The next treatment for cellulite reduction is diet. It’s crucial to reduce or eliminate white sugar and white flour. This does not meant to cut out carbohydrates. It simply means to look for whole grain products instead of ones that are made from white sugar. Try to include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet everyday. Whole fruits and vegetables contain fiber which is very important in regulating your digestive system. Try to drink lots of water as opposed to drinking fruit juices and soft drinks.

3. There are many types of treatments that help to reduce the appearance of cellulite. Some of these treatments are done in medical spas or are performed by dermatologists. The availability of these treatments varies by location. A list of cellulite treatments includes Endermologie, massage, body wraps and Velasmooth. Velasmooth is the first cellulite treatment to be approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration in the United States). There are home devices that claim to reduce cellulite that vary in cost and effectiveness. Many cosmetic companies offer topical treatments that may also reduce the appearance of cellulite. Be sure to check the ingredients for substances that may result in an allergic reaction due to user sensitivity.

Treatment of Fibromyalgia

Although there is no exact treatment for fibromyalgia, but some preventive measures can be taken to get rid of it. Presently doctors are concentrating on managing pain, relaxing muscles and reduced depression. Doctors prescribe patients, low-stress exercises such as walking, swimming, water aerobics, and biking rather than muscle-straining exercises such as weight training. Some other measures are heat applied to sore muscles, stretching exercises (Pilates is one form.) and massage.

As there is no specific medicine for fibromyalgia, doctors try to reduce the pain and increase the sleep. In order to achieve that following types of medicines are prescribed:

Analgesics: Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) may reduce the pain and stiffness caused by fibromyalgia. However, its effectiveness varies with individuals. Tramadol (Ultram) is a pain reliever medicine that may be taken with or without acetaminophen. Doctors often recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) or naproxen sodium (Anaprox, Aleve) — in combination with other medications, but NSAIDs haven’t proven to be useful in control the pain in fibromyalgia when taken by themselves.

Antidepressants: Doctors advise antidepressant medications, such as amitriptyline, nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor) or doxepin (Sinequan) to help deep and uninterrupted sleep. Fluoxetine (Prozac) in mixture with amitriptyline has also been found efficient. Sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil) are also effective for the patients suffering from depression. These medications may be beneficial by affecting serotonin levels in the brain.

Muscle relaxants: Taking the medication cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) at bedtime may help to take care of muscle pain and spasms.

Doctors strictly oppose consumption of sleeping pills and pain killers. Patients sometimes take them for quick relief, but the effect is very short term while the side-effect lasts for a long term. These medicines are type of narcotic, so these are very harmful for the patients.

Some self made measures can also be effective to prevent fibromyalgia. These procedures can be exercised in home. The measures are:

* Proper workout include walking, swimming, biking and water aerobics. A physical therapist may help you develop a home exercise program.

* Stretching, Free-hands, Good posture and relaxation workouts are also helpful.

* Develop a plan to avoid or limit over-exertion and poignant stress. Give yourself time each day to rest.

* Exercise stress lessening techniques, such as deep-breathing exercises, meditation and Yoga.

* Leading a very healthy and simple lifestyle can also help to prevent fibromyalgia.

Treatment Of Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the herpes simplex viruses (HSV) type 1 and type 2. Most genital herpes is caused by HSV type 2. Most people have no or minimal symptoms from HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection.

When symptoms do occur, they usually appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum. The blisters break, leaving ulcers or tender sores that may take up to four weeks to heal. Typically, another outbreak can appear weeks or months later.

Although the infection can stay in the boby forever, the number of outbreaks usually decreases over a period of years. You can pass genital herpes to someone else even when you experience no symptoms.

The symptoms of genital herpes vary from person to person. Some people have severe symptoms,such as many painful sores, while others have mild symptoms. An initial outbreak of genital herpes usually brings about symptoms within two weeks of having sexual contact with an infected person and can last from two to three weeks.

The early symptoms can include: an itching or burning feeling in the genital or anal area; flu-like symptoms, including fever; swollen glands; pain in the legs, buttocks, or genital area; vaginal discharge; a feeling of pressure in the area below the stomach.

There is no treatment that can cure genital herpes; the virus will always be in your body. Certain drugs such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir can shorten outbreaks and make them less severe, or stop them from happening. Depending on your needs, your doctor can give you drugs to take right after getting outbreak symptoms or drugs that you can take on a regular basis to try to stop outbreaks from happening.

When used along with safe sex practices, Valacyclovir can also help prevent you from passing the infection to someone lse.Talk to your doctor about which treatament plan is best for you.

During outbreaks, these steps can speed healing and prevent spreading of the infection to other sites of the body or to other people. Keep the infected area clean and dry.Try not to touch the sores. Wash hands after contact. Avoid sexual contact from the time the symptoms are first noticed until the sores have healed.

Immune boosting Beta-mannan is very helpful in suppressing and reducing severity of outbreaks, but surgical treatments such as cryosurgery will not help. Treatments for this condition include free-form lysine or supplemental high-lysine low-arginine diet is beneficial. Natural therapies are: red marine alga (a antiviral blocker); blue-green alga Spirulina platensis specially processed (antiviral agent); Micronutrient (episode suppressor); Colostrum Immunoglobulins (anti-microbial for infants); Beta-mannan (promotes healing); Olive leaf (oleuropein-antioxidant boosts immune responders) and Vitamin C (antiviral nutrient).

There is no cure for genital herpes. Once you have the virus, it stays in your body and there is a chance that you will have outbreaks. Medicine can shorten and stop outbreaks from happening.

There are things you can do to protect yourself from getting genital herpes. The best way to prevent any STD is to practice abstinence, or not having vaginal, oral or anal sex. Have a sexual relationship with one partner who has been tested for herpes and is not infected is another way to reduce your chances of getting infected.

Protect yourself with a latex condom every time you have vagina, anal or oral sex. Condoms should be used for any type of sex with every partner. For vaginal sex use a latex male condom or a female polyurethane condom.

Two Questions To Ask About Bird Flu Vaccines

The results of a government-funded study show that very high doses of an avian influenza vaccine, supplied by Sanofi-Aventis, are needed to produce an immune response that should guard against the virus. 54% of the volunteers received two shots of 90 micrograms each, 28 days apart. A typical flu shot is 15 micrograms.

Based on the requirements seen in the study, the U.S. government’s current stockpile of vaccines would provide enough for only about four million people, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases.

The problem isn’t just a matter of dosage. It is also a matter of production. Flu vaccines are produced using hen’s eggs,a 50-year old technology, if it can be called that. Automated machines inject hundreds of thousands of eggs, then an 11-day waiting period begins while the eggs incubate, brewing viruses that are then killed and bottled. To produce millions of the the final product takes about six months.

Then there’s the question no one seems to be asking: if we plan to rely upon chicken eggs to incubate an H5N1 virus, how do we know the H5N1 virus won’t kill the eggs? H5N1 already kills chickens. Shouldn’t we assume it also kills a high percentage of chicken eggs? Sanofi-Aventis is spending $150 million of its own money building a new vaccine-making plant based on the theory that H5N1 won’t kill the eggs. By the way, eggs have to be ordered many months in advance for this antiquated process.

And where does Sanofi-Aventis plan to get all these egg-laying chickens anyway? Millions of chickens have been slaughtered worldwide already and a pre-pandemic scenario could kill off whole U.S. chicken farms at once.

However, there is a new vaccine technology on the horizon. It’s called cell-based vaccine. Giant vats of living cells, such as dog kidney cells, multiply and then are inoculated with the virus. There are two companies already in the marketplace, one in Holland, one in Germany, but the technology won’t be widely available for years. The FDA must review the entire method before any equipment can be imported to the U.S.

Clearly, the U.S. has waited for a new virus to come along to spur vaccine research. We may have waited too long. H5N1 isn’t waiting. It’s figuring out how to mutate into human-to-human transmission. In fact, the rate of mutation is alarming. Dr. Robert Webster, Ph.D., Member, St. Jude Faculty Rose Marie Thomas Chair, calls H5N1 “the most frightening virus I’ve ever seen in 40 years of research.”

If you and your family are counting on a vaccine to protect you against H5N1 (Avian Influenza), don’t bet on it. There are still too many unanswered questions and too many risks.

What Parents Should Know About Administering Medicine to Children

Administering medicine to a sick child can be a frustrating experience for parents, with children often resisting medication necessary to help them feel better. According to a recent survey commissioned by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of McNeil-PPC, Inc., and conducted by Harris Interactive, more than 65 percent of parents have experienced difficulty getting their children to take liquid suspension medication, and 62 percent of parents noted that the taste of certain medicines is their children’s primary complaint.

Now, a new product aims to make the medicating experience an easier one. Children’s Tylenol® (acetaminophen) with Flavor Creator is the first customizable over-the-counter medicine. With four possible flavor combinations, Children’s Tylenol® with Flavor Creator makes administering medicine an easier experience for parents by reducing children’s attempts to avert taking medicine due to taste. Parents can create flavor combinations that match their child’s taste preferences, thereby creating a better medicating process.

“There are clear instructions that educate parents about the appropriate dose of medicine to administer to their child, but when children are resisting because of the taste, administering that appropriate dose can be a problem,” said Dr. Tanya Remer Altmann, pediatrician and clinical instructor at the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA. “This product helps parents get their children to take the medicine they need to feel better.”

Maureen Lipscomb has experienced the struggles over taking medication firsthand. As the mother of seven-year-old quadruplets, she struggles to meet the very different tastes of her four children.

“Each one of my children is different; they all have their own likes and dislikes. It’s very challenging for me to get them to take medicine when they don’t like the taste. Struggling with them over taking medicine when they are sick can be upsetting to all of us, so I am always looking for ways to make giving them their medicine less stressful,” said Lipscomb. “Allowing them to have a say in what the flavor of their medication will be makes medicine time less challenging because they are less likely to resist taking their medicine when they need it most.”

Nearly eight out of nine (85 percent) parents surveyed agree that being able to customize the flavor of their children’s liquid medication based on different taste preferences would significantly improve their child’s willingness to take their medicine.

Each pack of Children’s Tylenol® with Flavor Creator contains one bottle of Children’s Tylenol® Cherry Blast Flavor Liquid Suspension and 20 packets of sugar-free crystals in four different flavors: bubblegum, chocolate, apple and strawberry, to create great-tasting flavor combinations. As always, medication should be kept out of reach of children and administered by an adult.

What You Should Know About Teeth Whitening

So what is teeth whitening really all about? The following report includes some fascinating information about teeth whitening–info you can use, not just the old stuff they used to tell you.

Tooth bleaching, also known as teeth whitening, is a common procedure in general dentistry but most especially in the field of cosmetic dentistry. Many people consider white teeth to be an attractive feature of a smile. A child’s deciduous teeth are generally whiter than the adult teeth that follow. As a person ages the adult teeth often increase in value–that is to say, they become darker. This darkening is due to changes in the mineral structure of the tooth, as the enamel becomes less porous. Teeth can also become stained by bacterial pigments, foodstuffs and tobacco.

As white teeth are subconsciously associated with youth, they have become desirable. This has been made more apparent with the spread of American culture worldwide, where an especially white smile is coined a “Hollywood smile.” The procedure to bleach teeth uses oxidising agents such as hydrogen peroxide to lighten the shade of the tooth. The oxidising agent penetrates the porosities in the rod-like crystal structure of enamel and oxidises interprismatic stain deposits; over a period of time, the dentine layer, lying underneath the enamel, is also bleached.

There are two main methods of bleaching. The first involves applying a high concentration of oxidising agent for a short period of time, which is the so-called office bleach. This produces quick results but risks chemical burns to the soft tissues. Therefore, most in-office bleaching procedures use a light-cured protective layer that is carefully painted on the gums and papilla (the tips of the gums between the teeth). The bleaching agent is either carbamide peroxide, which breaks down in the mouth to form hydrogen peroxide, or hydrogen peroxide itself. The bleaching gel typically contains up to 35% hydrogen peroxide equivalent.

The alternative method involves using a thin mouthguard or strip to hold a low concentration of oxidising agent next to the teeth for as long as several hours a day for a period of 5 to 14 days. This is known as take-home or over-the-counter bleaching. This is a slower process but has fewer risks to the soft tissues. The bleaching agent is typically less than 10% hydrogen peroxide equivalent.

A typical course of bleaching can produce dramatic improvements in the cosmetic appearance of most stained teeth; however, some stains do not respond to bleaching. Tetracycline staining may require prolonged bleaching, as it takes longer for the bleach to reach the dentine layer. White-spot decalcifications may also be highlighted and become more noticeable.

Recently, efforts have been made to accelerate the bleaching process by the use of light. Studies have shown varying results as to the efficacy of light-activated bleaching.

Side effects of tooth bleaching include chemical burns (if a high-concentration oxidizing agent contacts unprotected tissues, which may bleach or discolor mucous membranes), sensitive teeth, and overbleaching (known in the profession as “fridge-door teeth”). Rebound, or teeth losing the bleached effect and darkening, is also an issue, with some studies showing the rebound effect over 30 days. A recent study by Kugel et al has shown that as much as 4 shades of lightness can be lost over 30 days with light-activated/office bleaching.

Permission is granted to reprint this article as long as no changes are made, and the entire resource box is included.

Why The Elderly Must Take Antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances that are capable of counteracting the damaging, but normal, effects of the physiological process of oxidation in animal tissue. Antioxidants are nutrients as well as enzymes (proteins in your body that assist in chemical reactions). They are believed to play a role in preventing the development of such chronic diseases as cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, and cataracts.

Why the Elderly Must Take Antioxidants
Many researchers claim that elderly people, especially those who have reduced their food intake, frequent aspirin users, heavy drinkers, smokers, and people with impaired immune systems may benefit from taking antioxidant supplements daily. In terms of heart disease and stroke, it is possible that higher levels of antioxidants slow or prevent the development of arterial blockages, a complicated process involving the oxidation of cholesterol. Moreover, antioxidants may deter the collection of plaque on arterial walls.

Exercise and Free Radicals
Exercise in untrained individuals overwhelms defenses resulting in increased free radical damage. Thus, the “weekend warrior” who is predominantly sedentary during the week but engages in vigorous bouts of exercise during the weekend may be doing more harm than good. To this end there are many factors which may determine whether exercise induced free radical damage occurs, including degree of conditioning of the person, intensity of exercise, and diet.

Because Free Radicals have one or more unpaired electrons, free radicals are highly unstable. They scavenge your body to grab or donate electrons, thereby damaging cells, proteins, and DNA (genetic material). The same oxidative process also causes oils to become rancid, peeled apples to turn brown, and iron to rust.

Sources of Antioxidants!
Consuming more antioxidants helps provide the body with tools to neutralize harmful free radicals. It’s estimated that there are more than 4,000 compounds in foods that act as antioxidants. The most studied include vitamins C and E, betacarotene and the mineral selenium.