Q. Boudreaux's Butt Paste caught my eye in your column about diaper rash. Our beagle Buddy was bruising his nose, grinding it to the quick...

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Q. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste caught my eye in your column about diaper rash. Our beagle Buddy was bruising his nose, grinding it to the quick as he went about burying treats, small toys and other objects in some hidden nook of the carpet. He pushed and pushed outward with his nose, rubbing it raw.

Our veterinarian suggested Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, and we thought he was putting us on. Almost embarrassed to ask, I went into our drugstore and whispered the name of the product. “Sure, right up here,” said the pharmacist as he reached to the top shelf for a tube of it. It worked! It’s heavy enough that even constant licking kept it in place long enough for Buddy’s nose to heal.

A. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste is a diaper-rash ointment that contains zinc oxide. Our veterinary consultant confirmed that veterinarians sometimes recommend this type of ointment for a dog with a sore, raw nose like Buddy’s. She cautions, however, that a zinc-oxide product should be used for a short period of time and not in large quantities. Dogs do lick their noses frequently, and zinc oxide can be toxic if they ingest too much of it.

Q. I have been on Effexor XR for the past seven years for depression. I decided to wean myself off it, since it wasn’t a good mix with another drug I started taking.

The third day I was completely off the Effexor, my head started spinning. I felt as if I was on a Tilt-a-Whirl nonstop! After two days of this, I ended up in the ER getting CT scans and MRIs of my brain.

The doctors finally decided all this was from the Effexor withdrawal. They gave me ONE tablet, and all the spinning stopped within an hour! This medication is NOT easy to get off.

A. The whirling sensation you experienced also has been described as “head in a blender.” When people suddenly stop taking antidepressants like Celexa (citalopram), Cymbalta (duloxetine), Effexor (venlafaxine), Paxil (paroxetine) or Zoloft (sertraline) they may experience dizziness, nausea, sweating, insomnia, headaches, nervousness and electrical shocklike sensations.

We discuss the pros and cons of such medications, strategies for stopping them and nondrug alternatives in our new Guide to Dealing With Depression.

Gradual tapering of the dose over several months may be the best way to minimize the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal. Careful medical supervision is essential during this time.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them c/o King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or via their Web site: www.peoplespharmacy.org