Q. Years ago, when I was a young teenager, my acne was so bad that my pediatrician recommended seeing a dermatologist to prevent scarring. Fortunately, my parents agreed. In addition to not eating chocolate or drinking a Coke for a few years (I was determined!), I used a pink lotion that the dermatologist supplied me. I applied it religiously every night. After a while my acne disappeared.
The pink lotion? We found that the main ingredient was milk of magnesia. My daughters used regular milk of magnesia as teens and it worked for them too.
A. There was a time when doctors told teens to avoid chocolate, sugary drinks, and other carbohydrate-rich foods. Then dermatologists stated that, “Dietary restriction (either specific foods or food classes) has not been shown to be of benefit in acne treatment” (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, April 2007).
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However, the pendulum has swung back. A review in the International Journal of Dermatology (June 2021) concludes: “Acne-promoting factors include high GI/GL [glycemic index/load] food, dairy products, fatty foods [sic] and chocolate, while acne-protective factors include intake of fatty acids, fruits and vegetables.” Foods with a high glycemic index quickly raise blood sugar and include fast foods, white bread, pasta, pizza, salty snacks and sweets.
We have heard from readers who found that applying the liquid laxative milk of magnesia to their face helped clear up their acne. However, the only reference we could find to this approach was published in the Archives of Dermatology, January 1975. It was a letter to the editor rather than a research report.
You can learn more about preventing and treating pimples in our eGuide to Acne Solutions. This online resource can be found under the Health eGuides tab at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.
Q. One of the drugs I need is very expensive. The pharmacist told me about a website that offered a coupon. When I did, my cost for a 90-day supply went from $500 to $30! Now I know how to look for coupons with expensive drugs.
A. Several organizations now offer coupons to save money on prescription drugs. The best known is perhaps GoodRx. The biggest discounts are on generic drugs.
Keep in mind that if you use a coupon, your insurance (and Medicare) won’t contribute. You pay out of your own pocket. In addition, anything you spend through a coupon does not count towards your deductible.
Q. My daughter was prescribed Ritalin from kindergarten. She took it throughout her school years, college and graduate school. It was fantastic medicine for her. Not only did it help with her education, but she also became a ranked tennis player.
Now her doctor says adults don’t have ADHD. He doesn’t want to prescribe Ritalin. Is he right?
A. Methylphenidate (Ritalin) is a stimulant drug that has been widely prescribed since 1955. People don’t necessarily outgrow ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). A systematic review in the Journal of Attention Disorders (July 13, 2022) concludes that drug treatments for ADHD may improve emotional behavior in adults. Treatment may also improve job performance and reduce the risk of unemployment (JAMA Network Open, April 1, 2022).
That said, prescriptions for stimulants such as methylphenidate have risen sharply in recent years (BMJ Open, Aug. 13, 2021). The authors caution that anxiety, insomnia and dependence are possible adverse effects of overprescribing such drugs.
Questions for Joe and Teresa Graedon can be emailed through their website: www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.