Q: Is there any way to make passing a kidney stone less painful? I went from uncomfortable to unbearable pain within a couple of hours.
The emergency room doctors gave me narcotic pain relievers, but nothing to speed the stone out. If this ever happens again, I’d like something to help move the stone along.
A: If surgery is not necessary to remove the stone, there is one treatment that may be helpful. The same drug that is used to ease symptoms of prostate enlargement, Flomax (tamsulosin), may facilitate passage of kidney stones. Shock-wave treatment (lithotripsy) is sometimes used to break kidney stones into smaller pieces. Flomax has been used in combination with lithotripsy to help smaller stones move.
Q: I am a 62-year-old with a history of drinking six to eight alcoholic drinks a day for the past 30 years. I have no desire to stop drinking, but I realize that if I continue at my present rate, I will eventually suffer health problems. I heard your radio show about naltrexone as a treatment and started taking it in January. In the three weeks that I have been taking it, I’m down to about two drinks a day and have suffered absolutely no side effects.
A: There is more information about naltrexone in “The Cure for Alcoholism: Drink Your Way Sober Without Willpower, Abstinence or Discomfort” by Roy Eskapa.
Editor’s note: A deeper discussion about the pros and cons of naltrexone can be found in the entry linked above on the Better Health blog.
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition. In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. E-mail them via their Web site: www.peoples pharmacy.com. They can be reached at peoplespharmacy @gmail.com.