PEOPLE’S PHARMACY: Alcoholic abusing mouthwash?

Q: My 31-year-old sister is an alcoholic. She has been to two rehab facilities within the past year. She finally got a job, and then about two weeks ago she started sleeping all weekend.

Those severely addicted to alcohol may turn to seemingly benign household products like mouthwash to satisfy their cravings. PARKER C. SMITH/AJC SPECIAL

Those severely addicted to alcohol may turn to seemingly benign household products like mouthwash to satisfy their cravings. PARKER C. SMITH/AJC SPECIAL


I couldn’t find any alcohol in the house, but we bought a blood alcohol content detector, and it would read off the charts. She’d say she wasn’t drinking, and she would have this wild-eyed drunk look.

I saw a huge bottle of Listerine in her bathroom yesterday, and today it is gone. She always smells of it, and it broke my heart when I realized what she’s doing.

A: Your sister might need more help than you can give her. As you have realized, she might be abusing Listerine for its alcohol content. Only a desperate and addicted person does this.

We heard from another reader who reported that her mother died of liver failure, kidney failure and heart failure after several years of secretly drinking large amounts of Listerine.

Please get in touch with a professional who can guide you to treatment for your sister. This is not a do-it-yourself project.

Q: When Armour Thyroid disappeared, my doctor used a conversion chart to try to get the same results from Synthroid. So far, my hair is thinning, my fingernails are peeling back layer by layer and I have begun to gain weight. I’d appreciate any information you have about getting the most from Synthroid, since I can’t get Armour anymore.

A: Many people with thyroid problems do well on Synthroid, but some feel better on Armour. Armour has become scarce lately, with no indication when the manufacturer may replenish the supply.

Your doctor could prescribe Erfa desiccated thyroid from Canada. This is more similar to Armour than synthetic levothyroxine (Synthroid).

Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition. They can be reached at peoplespharmacy
@gmail.com.

Become a fan of AJC Health Care on Facebook and follow ajchealthcare on Twitter for more health care news and health advice.

2 comments Add your comment

cp

December 27th, 2009
11:03 am

Excuse me, but did you really just suggest someone to buy drugs from Canada? Why doesn’t the “People’s Pharmacy” Column actually have a Pharmacist?

nadine

December 30th, 2009
4:40 pm

What is wrong with buying “drugs” from canada??
they said – Your doctor could prescribe Erfa desiccated thyroid from Canada