Q: For several years, I had jock itch. When I tried the usual over-the-counter remedies, I was disappointed. Finally, I tried Dr. Sheffield’s Diaper Rash Ointment. After a few applications, things cleared up, and I have had no recurrence.
A: Like most diaper rash ointments, Dr. Sheffield’s contains zinc oxide. This functions as a moisture barrier. Zinc oxide also has antifungal activity. In addition, Dr. Sheffield’s contains cod liver oil, which has antibacterial properties (Marine Drugs, June 2016).
Should you get a recurrence, combining the antifungal drug miconazole with zinc oxide should be highly effective. You can buy both topical products separately in any pharmacy. This will save a lot of money compared with preformulated combination products.
Q: My doctor recently prescribed atorvastatin to lower my cholesterol. I have always been very active — lifting weights, running and hiking. Now I cannot tell if the aches and pains I feel are related to the pharmaceutical or to simply being very active.
I have been athletic for so long that I tend to simply ignore little pains and strains. They are just part of exercising at a high capacity. On atorvastatin, I worry that ignoring them could be dangerous. How do I discern between the usual aches and pains from being athletic and those that might be worrisome?
A: Many people are able to tolerate statins without side effects. There are, however, others who experience muscle pain or weakness while taking these cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Researchers have been searching for the mechanisms behind this muscle damage and have come up with several suggestions (International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Feb. 19, 2021). There is no simple test to determine whether your discomfort is due to vigorous exercise or statin toxicity.
One strategy would be to ask your physician if you could safely do a challenge test. That would involve taking a statin “vacation” for several weeks to see if the pains disappear. If restarting the statin results in a reoccurrence of pain, the drug may be contributing to your soreness.
To learn more about the pros and cons of statins and other approaches for lipid management, you may wish to consult our eGuide to Cholesterol Control & Heart Health. This online resource is found in the Health eGuides section at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.
Q: After using a cortisone nasal spray to treat my allergies for 25 years, I lost my sense of smell. I even got thrush from using the spray at night. It ran down my throat while I was sleeping and created conditions for this fungal infection to flourish.
I no longer use this type of nasal spray. Instead, I rely on quercetin. When my allergies are really bad, I occasionally take a Benadryl.
A: Corticosteroid nasal sprays have become very popular since they became available over the counter, because they are so effective. Regular use, however, may impact the sense of smell (Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology, April 3, 2021). Such drugs may also predispose people to fungal infections such as thrush.
Quercetin is sold as a dietary supplement. This flavonoid is found in vegetables and fruits. It stabilizes mast cells that release histamine and other inflammatory compounds (PLoS One, March 28, 2012). As a result, quercetin appears to be effective against seasonal allergies and contact dermatitis.