White Coat Underground

Off to the pharmacy

The last month has been pretty busy at the office, with lots of H1N1 influenza. I’ve been quite lucky, but the last couple of days I’ve had some pretty close exposures. The other day I gave a nebulizer treatment to a patient with wheezing who turned out to have the flu (I was not wearing a mask), and I’ve seen about a half-dozen others with it.

So today I’m off to the pharmacy to pick up my prophylactic course of oseltamivir. Whoopie!


  1. #1 Donna B.
    June 16, 2009

    I wish you well. And I’m really sorry to hear you are seeing so many cases of the flu.

  2. #2 Vitamin Man
    June 16, 2009

    has anyone heard of treating cancer with Selenium, Vitamin C, and Graviola? Is anyone willing to try?

  3. #3 Chris
    June 16, 2009

    Vitamin Man: Only after you show us some real data.

  4. #4 Dianne
    June 16, 2009

    has anyone heard of treating cancer with Selenium, Vitamin C, and Graviola?

    I don’t know what Graviola is, but selenium and vit C have been tried with negative results. There is no evidence that either is useful in cancer.

  5. #5 Ranson
    June 17, 2009


    has anyone heard of treating cancer with Selenium, Vitamin C, and Graviola? Is anyone willing to try?

    I don’t know anyone with a death wish, sorry.

    PalMD: What, no Zicam? It’s anosmiriffic!

  6. #6 DLC
    June 17, 2009

    Ah. well, I haven’t gotten the flu yet, and I’m rather hoping to avoid this one.

  7. #7 kewells
    June 17, 2009

    PalMD: What, no Zicam? It’s anosmiriffic!

    Oh yea, forgot about that stuff .Ex girlfriend shoved some in my nose once, thankfully it did nothing. Sorry you aerosolized the swine flu by accident. Love your blog.

  8. #8 Ranson
    June 17, 2009

    I told one of my in-laws that swore by Zicam about the potential anosmic effects a few years back. She said she was already anosmic from some previous medical procedures, so she really didn’t care anyway.

  9. #9 kewells
    June 17, 2009

    Looky, from today’s Bloomberg
    Zicam Cold Remedy Gets FDA Warning; Matrixx Dives (Update1)

    By Shannon Pettypiece

    June 16 (Bloomberg) — Zicam nasal sprays and swabs may cause permanent loss of smell and taste and consumers should stop using them, U.S. regulators warned today, sending shares of manufacturer Matrixx Initiatives Inc. down the most ever.

    Matrixx, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, fell $10.68, or 56 percent, to $8.56 before Nasdaq Stock Market trading was halted. That’s the biggest intraday decline since its 1996 initial public offering.

    The Food and Drug Administration has received more than 130 reports of people losing their sense of smell after using zinc- based Zicam nasal spray and swabs, and Matrixx has an additional 800 reports it hasn’t made available to the agency, Deborah M. Autor, director of the FDA’s Office of Compliance, said today in a conference call with reporters. The agency sent a warning letter to Matrixx telling the company to stop selling three Zicam products.

    “If they wish to continue marketing the products, the next step is for them to come in and seek FDA approval,” Autor said.

    The FDA warning applies to the homeopathic Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel, Gel Swabs and Kids Size swabs. Zicam, which also comes in melting tablet and liquid form, is Matrixx’s top- selling product.

    Bill Barba, Matrixx’s head of investor relations, didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

    The FDA first received reports of a loss of smell linked to Zicam in 1999. In 2006, Matrixx agreed to pay $12 million to settle claims by 340 plaintiffs who said they lost their sense of smell after using the product.

    Today’s FDA letter says many homeopathic products can be sold without U.S. approval. Because of “a significant and growing body of evidence” that the Zicam products “may pose a serious risk to consumers,” the agency said Matrixx must get FDA approval to market its remedies.

  10. #10 Vitamin man
    June 17, 2009

    Another question:

    How long would someone last if they discovered a cure for cancer?

    How long would it be before a drug compnay had him/her killed in an “accident” and they either hide the cure or profit from it themselves?

    Do you really thing big government and big drug manufacturers are going to allow a cure for something? There is no money in a cure.

    Graviola is actually a fruit found in South America.

  11. #11 Chris
    June 17, 2009

    Vitamin man:

    How long would someone last if they discovered a cure for cancer?

    What kind of cancer? Cancer is not one disease, it is several diseases. There cannot be A cure for cancer.

    There are several types of treatments for several kinds of cancer. Some are removed through surgery, and some respond to various forms of drug treatment, and some respond to radiation treatment… and better yet, some are prevented through vaccines (like the HepB and HPV vaccines).

    So what you are saying is just a bunch of nonsense. Read this page that explains cancer.

  12. #12 LanceR, JSG
    June 17, 2009

    Well said, Chris. Very well said.

    And to further his point, to believe that the mysterious “evil drug company” would have a researcher *killed* to cover up what would be an insanely profitable product??? That takes paranoia to new heights.

    “Big Pharma” is a dog that just won’t hunt. So is “Big Gub’mint”. Neither one is a shadowy, monolithic entity that is out to get you. Government is *us*. Pharmaceutical companies are made up of *us*. Do you really have such a low opinion of people?

    Graviola is just the latest version of Laetrile. A vague “cure-all” that may have some minor effect, but is probably more toxic than the cancer itself. Many years of studies will need to be done to determine 1) if there is any positive effect, 2) if there are any hazardous side effects, and 3) what dosages enhance the former while minimizing the latter.

    Contrary to most woo-meisters, cancer researchers (who mostly work for Big Pharma (dun dun DUUUUN!)) really do want to find effective treatments for various forms of cancer. It would not only make them lots of money, but would validate their reasons for choosing to become researchers in the first place.

    Give the conspiracies a rest. Cancer in all its forms is enemy enough for all of us.

  13. #13 LanceR, JSG
    June 17, 2009

    And of course, right after I hit post I find that graviola, or soursop as some varieties are known, may be linked to atypical forms of Parkinson’s disease. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10440304

  14. #14 Chris
    June 18, 2009

    Thank you, LanceR. One can tell that “Vitamin man” did not have a clue when he mentioned “a cure for cancer”, which was reinforced with the whole conspiracy theory crap.

    Wait, you said:

    Graviola is just the latest version of Laetrile. A vague “cure-all” that may have some minor effect, but is probably more toxic than the cancer itself.

    Well the active ingredient in laetrile is cyanide. While it may have killed cells in a petri dish, the studies done in the 1970s showed that it caused symptoms of cyanide poisoning. Good grief: bleach kills bacteria in a petri dish, but that does not mean that drinking bleach will cure pertussis!

    Thanks for showing that graviola can be a “cure” with very unwanted side effects.

    So, Vitamin man, do you also want to push megadoses of Vitamin A?

  15. #15 Dianne
    June 18, 2009

    How long would someone last if they discovered a cure for cancer?

    120-N where N is her/his current age. Maximum.

  16. #16 Denice Walter
    June 18, 2009

    @ LanceR,JSG: Dude! About “Big Pharma” being *us*: if you own any mutual funds or similar financial products (and many people do),it is just possible that *ocasionally*(well,maybe not this past year)they earn money, some of which is based on the earnings of the pharmaceutical companies,which are actually profitable,which makes you a *pharma shill*!!!!

  17. #17 LanceR, JSG
    June 18, 2009

    Oh noes! My (pathetic) 403(b) from my previous employer makes me a “Pharma Shill”!!

    Wait. I put it all in technology… *whew*. I’m okay. Broke, but okay!

  18. #18 davidp
    June 19, 2009

    Tamiflu seems to be working for me – the kids came down with apparent H1N1 on Friday, Monday and Tuesday, but the three of us in the household who started on Tamiflu on Tuesday are still OK.

    Posting from Melbourne, Australia – H1N1 2009 central

  19. #19 Anonymous
    June 22, 2009

    I actually came down with flulike symptoms this morning– sore throat, cough, fever, malaise that worsened over the day– went in to my doctor’s office and was told that I almost definitely had swine flu, but because I’m young and healthy they wouldn’t bother testing or hitting me up with drugs. Fluids, rest, and steam baths, here I come!

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