The Growing Concerns About Self-Medication Using OTCs

Doctors and other medical practitioners have expressed their concern regarding the availability of over the counter UTI treatment. According to these doctors, antibiotic medications about 10 years ago, could never be bought without the doctor’s prescription.

Today, more than 200 of these drugs are now sold over the counter and they are apprehensive about the possible consequences of the indiscriminate availability of these drugs.

Doctors are concerned that the overuse and misuse of these over the counter UTI treatment will result to bacterial resistance to UTI antibacterial medications.

Eventually, if the urinary tract infection develops into a bladder or kidney infection despite the antibiotic medication they procured from drugstores, then it has finally happened. The sufferer’s body no longer responds to antibiotics because the body has already developed resistance to the bacterial strain.

According to one health expert, the sale of OTC antibiotics for serious infections soared by 800% since FDA approved the medication for over the counter access in 1990. This is said to be a clear indication that there is drug overuse and misuse.

Today, antibacterial resistance is now a global problem. Self medication has become rampant, a lot of patients no longer respond to basic medicines prescribed. This is exactly why, it is important for those who go into self medication to consult their physicians before taking any form of drug treatments.

Urinary tract infections that are in the advanced stages are treated by doctors with antibiotics. However, the doctor has to analyze the patient’s urine by studying the results of the urinalysis.

He will also determine the patient’s personal and medical history including the health habits and lifestyle. Only then will the doctor be able to determine the type of antibiotic to prescribe.

There are even cases when the doctor has to examine x-ray or ultrasound visuals or use a cystoscope to determine if there is a blockage in the urethra. If the doctor is fully satisfied with his analysis and diagnosis, it is only then that any one of the following drugs will be prescribed since he will deem it to be the most appropriate medication to treat the UTI:

Trimethoprim – an antibacterial drug that acts as a prophylaxis as well as medicaton for urinary tract infections.

Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole – used as treatment for UTI caused by any of the following microbes: Escherichia coli, enterobacter species, Morganella morganii, proteus mirabilis, Klebsiella species, and Proteus vulgaris.

Amoxicillin – This drug is said to be treated for class B bacterial infection caused by organisms described as susceptible.

Ampicillin – an antibiotic that is said to inhibit the third and final stage of synthesis that takes place in the cell wall.

Nitrofurantoin – common antibiotic used to treat UTI caused by E coli, although it is not one of the more popular strain being used.

You will probably note from the list above that each antibiotic is different but with similar uses. There are drugs chosen by the doctor as the suitable prescription based on its prophylactic use.

However, only the doctors know this, and we as layman or unlearned about medical jargon and uses, do not have the expertise to understand the real meaning of prophylaxis, other than what we will gather from its dictionary meaning. Neither can we determine, when does it becomes appropriate to take over the counter UTI treatment with prophylactic capacity.

Does The Hoodia Weight Loss Diet Pill Really Work?

A surprisingly large amount of the Hoodia weight loss diet pill is being sold on the internet. Unfortunately, it appears as though a large amount of what is claimed to be Hoodia is anything but what it claims to be.

Hoodia gordonii is a cactus found in South Africa. It is an appetite suppressant that acts as glucose and fools the brain into thinking the body is full. It is being studied by pharmaceutical companies, but has already reached mass sales in the United States as an over-the-counter weight loss supplement and diet pill.

Some reports suggest that 2/3 of Hoodia weight loss diet pills sold are not Hoodia. Apparently, this happens through one of two means. Either the manufacturer accepts goods he knows are counterfeit or he unknowingly purchases it from shady brokers. With a going price for raw Hoodia gordonii at $225/kg, there is plenty of motivation for people to harvest anything that resembles the Hoodia cactus and attempt to pass it off as the real thing.

The demand for a weight loss diet pill is high, so the supply is high. We live with a free-enterprise economy in this society. People wish to be thin. People want products to help them in this endeavor. Therefore, manufacturers find and produce a weight loss diet pill. Whereas pharmaceutical companies are regulated, the weight loss diet supplement industry is not.

And isn’t that the real problem? How would a person feel if they purchased Amoxicillin for their child at the local pharmacy and found out that it was nothing more than sugar water? This doesn’t happen with pharmaceuticals or the prescription weight loss pill because these are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

In the end, though, a person duped by a fake weight loss diet pill, whether it’s Hoodia or something else, do not suffer anything more than a bit of disappointment and loss of money. The damage done by a patient receiving a placebo when they needed a life-saving drug is far worse.

Ultimately, the responsibility of purchasing a safe weight loss diet pill lies in the hands of the consumer. Educate yourself on the actual efficacy of any of these products available. Look at the potential side effects. Examine the company for which you intend to make a purchase from. The Hoodia weight loss diet pill is certainly not the only weight loss product on the market that could be potentially tainted or ineffective.

Remember that the Hoodia weight loss pill is not effective if you do not follow a healthy diet and exercise program. Nor are any other weight loss diet pills, over-the-counter or pharmaceutical. If you are looking for something that will help you lose weight with little or no effort, keep looking. A miracle in a bottle has yet to be found.

Various Acne Treatment Products

Acne is a prevalent skin problem which can affect teenagers and adults as well and it is a skin problem which while in mild conditions can disappear in few days time, in case it reaches an advanced stage, acne treatment products are required for its removal. Since acne is a very common problem that affects the skin, there are innumerable acne treatment products available in the market and they can ensure rapid sales as acne more often leave behind inflammations and marks on the skin which appear like blemishes and therefore people are more than enthusiastic in having them removed form the skin. There are various reasons behind acne formation. The most common cause is that the excess sebum secretion from the sebaceous gland is unable to make its way out and its accumulation under the skin facilitates acne formation. However researches have also brought to the forefront the view that even hormonal imbalances and stress factors can be equally responsible for causing acne on the skin. In case of referring to acne products it must be borne in mind that while there are several products available in the market for treating acnes, not all are actually useful and therefore one must be careful and conduct a thorough research before investing on them.

Oral antibiotics are considered to be the most effective in treating acne and there are innumerable antibiotic supplements available in the market which serves as acne treatment products. A significant one among them is tetracycline and its related variants minocycline and doxycycline are equally useful in the purpose of functioning as acne treatment products. Amoxicillin, sulfa drugs and cefadroxil are some other antibiotics which are extremely helpful in aiding acne treatment. In case of mild acne formations on the skin, ingredients like sulfacetamide, azelaic acid, clindamycin and erythromycin are very helpful. Retinoid are important products for acne treatments as they aid in treating acnes by preventing blockage of the pores of the skin. Isoretonin is also a beneficial ingredient as well. Cortisone injections are one of the quickest means of getting rid of large and reddish acne formations on the skin. Different forms of chemical peeling like derma peeling or chemexfolliation are considered as suitable for acne treatment and also aid in ensuring healthy skin. Laser resurfacing today is considered to be a viable option for acne treatment and while it is quite an expensive endeavor the results are definitely effective.

Self Medicating a Staph Infection in a Third World Country

Ask any well traveled expat about health care, during his or her travels, and most will tell you essentially the same thing – Some countries provide excellent or adequate medical services, while others are completely inadequate or nearly nonexistent. Today’s Expat Survival Guide will concentrate on the countries where medical care is, in many cases, sub par or not readily available.

Before we get too far into this, I should tell you that the information contained in this article should never substitute for the advice and care of a qualified doctor or health care professional. However, should you find yourself in an area where such an individual is not readily available, then the information contained herein will be of good use to you. Just make sure that you visit a qualified doctor as soon as possible, as only he or she will be able to completely and accurately diagnose and treat an infectious condition.

First off. We should go over exactly what a Staph Infection is, and the symptoms of such an infection.

A Staph Infection is an infection caused by Staphylococcus (or “Staph” bacteria). It is a very common bacterium and is generally believed to be present in about 25% of all people. In many cases, it lives upon the skin in the nose, mouth, genital, and anal areas without causing an infection. However, once a cut or puncture occurs, in an area where the bacteria are residing, chances of an infection increase dramatically. The foot is also susceptible to picking up the bacteria from the floor. Staph infections normally begin with a minor cut that becomes infected with the bacteria.

Staph infections can range from a simple boil or enlarged pimple type occurrence to dangerous flesh-eating conditions which can be highly resistant to antibiotics. Antibiotic resistant strains of the bacteria are prevalent in North America, due to an ever growing dependence on antibiotics to treat bacteria related conditions and illnesses. The severity of a Staph Infection normally depends on the depth of the infection and how fast it is spread. Of course strains of the bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics can become more dangerous and may even be life threatening if left untreated or unchecked.

Staph infections normally begin with a small area of redness. The area may be very tender and swollen. It may or may not begin with a break in the skin. The affected area may become quite warm and painful. If this occurs, then chances are good you have been infected by the Staph Cellulitis strain of the bacteria. This seems to be the most common strain of the bacteria; however, it will be hard to determine whether the strain is resistant or not to antibiotics, unless a culture sample is tested. Therefore, you should visit a qualified doctor as soon as you can. But this guide is for expats with no qualified doctor readily available to him, and until you can actually visit a doctor you have to do something.

I have known many expats that suffered from Staph Infections, while in third world countries. Though I don’t recommend self medicating, there are times when there is no choice. If you find yourself in this position, here are some things you can do to help.

First, keep the infected area very clean. This is the most important thing you can do to help minimize or prevent spread of the bacterial infection. When cleaning the affected area, use a good quality soap and warm water. Allow the soap to remain on the infected area of the skin for two or three minutes before rinsing.

Once the affected area is cleaned, wipe the affected area with cotton and hydrogen peroxide or betadine to further help kill the surface bacteria. If the wound is an open wound then saturate the wound with hydrogen peroxide and allow it to thoroughly clean the wound. Cover the affected area with a clean gauze bandage. Clean the affected area and change the bandage at least three or four times daily.

If you have access to a pharmacy or drug store (In many developing countries there are pharmacies available but not trained doctors) you will most likely be able to acquire most common antibiotics and antibacterial medications without a prescription. Many western countries restrict sale of these medications; however, most developing nations do not. Therefore, if you have access to a pharmacy then the following medications are the most commonly prescribed for Staph Infections:

Good ‘ole Penicillin (if you’re not allergic) can fight many nonresistant strains of the bacteria, and is usually available in most countries of the world. Actually, many doctors will usually prescribe two derivatives of penicillin to treat Staph infections. Penicillin or Amoxicillin which are broad spectrum antibiotics and Cloxacillin, Cloxacillin Sodium or Flucloxacillin which are narrow spectrum derivatives that more actively attack the Staph Bacteria itself. Taking both at the same time is quite common. Both are normally prescribed in 500mg capsules and should be taken 3 – 4 times daily. Penicillin and its derivatives work best on an empty stomach.

If you are allergic to Penicillin, you can substitute Erythromycin for the Penicillin or Amoxicillin and Doxycycline for the Cloxacillin-based drug. Erythromycin dosage is 500mg twice daily, and Doxycycline dosage is 100mg once daily. Erythromycin and Doxycycline may be taken with or without food.

All antibiotics mentioned above will require 3 – 4 days before signs of improvement, if any, are noticed. Typical periods of treatment are 10 – 14 days. However, in more serious cases, the need to take the antibiotics for up to 45 days is not uncommon.

In addition, many studies and tests have shown that applying a good anti bacterial ointment or salve to the wound or infected area can help prevent the spread of the Staph Bacteria and allow the affected area to more quickly heal.

Many expats have used more natural remedies when neither a doctor nor pharmacy is available, and I have also used a few to treat minor staph infections. However, natural remedies should only be used when no other resources are available. I guess that is a topic for another issue of the Expat Survival Guide. Again, if you believe you have a Staph Infection, see a qualified doctor as soon as possible. The information here has helped many expats, but it may not be the best advice for you.

Jeff Grundy is a professional freelance writer, software developer and web designer. After working on the development of Microsoft’s Access Relational Database Application for more than 15 years, Jeff is very well versed in many varied aspects of the IT industry.

Now a professional freelance writer and blogger, Jeff still finds the time to develop code for new software and web applications that are on the cutting edge of application development. In his work as a developer/designer Jeff Grundy has had the opportunity to contribute his expertise, thoughts and ideas to a number of online blogs, IT news sites and other various publications. Jeff writes on a wide array of interesting topics and is not limited to IT or technical writing.

Does Colloidal Silver Really Cure Antibiotic-Resistant

Four recent clinical studies have demonstrated that silver in a variety of forms — including colloidal silver — is able to cure the deadly antibiotic-resistant MRSA infections that now kill more Americans each year than AIDS infections.

Here is a brief synopsis of the recently revealed good news regarding the incredible infection-fighting qualities of colloidal silver, proving beyond any shadow of a doubt its ability to kill MRSA and other deadly antibiotic-resistant pathogens – often in just minutes!

Case #1: A Brigham Young Clinical Study Proves Silver Kills MRSA — In this study, conducted quietly in October 2006 at the Department of Microbiology/Molecular Biology of Brigham Young University, and published in the journal Current Science, Vol. 91, No. 7, October 10, 2006, it was found that a number of the antibiotic drugs which formerly killed MDR (multiple drug-resistant) pathogens such as MRSA could actually be restored to full efficacy against the deadly pathogens, but only if a liquid silver solution similar to colloidal silver was used in conjunction with the drug! The researchers wrote:

“Silver-Water-Dispersion(TM) solution has been shown as an effective antibiotic against many Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and multiple drug-resistant (MDR) strains (Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa). As high level acquired resistance to conventional antibiotics is frequent, it seems reasonable to use combination therapy in order to achieve bactericidal synergism. Active silver solutions have shown marked activity against proven bacterial-resistant strains. Hence, a range of antibiotics were tested with Silver-Water Dispersion(TM) solution to determine antagonism, additive and synergistic effects against a panel of microbial strains… It is clear that the combination will allow a more complete clearing of the pathological organism.”

In short, what the researchers found is that when they used the liquid silver solution in conjunction with the antibiotic drugs that had previously lost their effectiveness against MRSA and other deadly super pathogens, the antibiotics began to work again. The synergism between silver and the antibiotic drugs brought the deadly pathogens back under control. Since the antibiotic drugs had previously lost their effectiveness against the super pathogens, this clearly demonstrates that the silver was the deciding factor in the deaths of the deadly pathogens!

Case #2: Iranian Clinical Study Proves Silver Increases Effectiveness of Antibiotic Drugs Against Staph – This study was conducted by the Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and Medical Nanotechnology Research Center, Faculty of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences at the University of Tehran, Iran. Say what you will about the Iranians, but when they do a medical study, they do it up right. Apparently Iranian scientists were two full months ahead of the Brigham Young team above in proving that the addition of silver to antibiotic drugs boosts their ability to kill resistant staphylococcus aureaus. The study was called, “Synthesis and effect of silver nanoparticles on the antibacterial activity of different antibiotics against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.” In part, the researchers demonstrated:

“Silver nanoparticles (Ag-NPs) have been known to have inhibitory and bactericidal effects. Resistance to antimicrobial agents by pathogenic bacteria has emerged in recent years and is a major health problem. …these [silver] nanoparticles were evaluated for their part in increasing the antimicrobial activities of various antibiotics against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. The antibacterial activities of penicillin G, amoxicillin, erythromycin, clindamycin, and vancomycin were increased in the presence of silver nano-particles (Ag-NPs) against both test strains. The highest enhancing effects were observed for vancomycin, amoxicillin, and penicillin G against S. aureus.

So once again we see that it is the addition of silver to the three specific antibiotics (vancomycin, amoxicillin and penicillin) that almost magically renews the effectiveness of each of these antibiotic drugs against today’s most deadly pathogens. Silver, as usual, is the key!

Case #3: Taiwanese Clinical Study Proves Colloidal Silver By Itself Kills MRSA — Another study, this one conducted in Taiwan, also demonstrated that silver colloids kills both MRSA and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, another deadly and extremely opportunistic superbug. In this study, a special colloidal silver solution was tested on contact surfaces where the deadly pathogens are known to colonize, and from which they can spread to humans. The silver solution proved to be completely effective against both the MRSA and Pseudomonas super pathogens.

The study, which demonstrated conclusively that silver could be applied to contact surfaces to stop colonies of MRSA super pathogens from forming, was titled, “Formation of colloidal silver nanoparticles stabilized by Na(+)-poly(gamma-glutamic acid)-silver nitrate complex via chemical reduction process,” and was conducted at the Department of Textile Science, Nanya Institute of Technology, Chung-Li, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan. It was published in the journal Colloids Surface B Biointerfaces in October 2007.

Case #4: Czech Clinical Study Proves Silver Particles Kill MRSA – This study was conducted at the Department of Physical Chemistry at Palacky University in the Czech Republic. It was later published in the prestigious Journal of Physical Chemistry B in August 2006. Titled “Silver colloidal nanoparticles: synthesis, characterization, and their antibacterial activity,” the study demonstrated that…

“…silver particles with a narrow size distribution with an average size of 25 nm, which showed high antimicrobial and bactericidal activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, including highly multi-resistant strains such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).” The study further demonstrated that very low concentrations of silver could be utilized to destroy MRSA, as long as the silver particles were very small, averaging 25 nm.