Richmond Times-Dispatch - - HEALTH - BY JOE AND TERESA GRAEDON Spe­cial cor­re­spon­dents In their col­umn, Joe and Teresa Graedon an­swer let­ters from read­ers. You can email them via their web­site: www. Peo­plesPhar­ © 2020 King Fea­tures Syn­di­cate Inc.

QUES­TION: In the past, when I would get the hic­cups, they would last all day, off and on, no mat­ter what I did. One day I was hav­ing a re­ally per­sis­tent bout and thought, “I won­der what would happen if I took some Ro­laids?” I popped a few fla­vored Ro­laids into my mouth, crunched them down and within sec­onds, the hic­cups were gone. It’s worked for me sev­eral times since.

AN­SWER: We have been writ­ing about hic­cup reme­dies for decades. Most are based on per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences like yours, but oc­ca­sion­ally we’ll spot something in the med­i­cal lit­er­a­ture. The first we found was in the New Eng­land Journal of Medicine, Dec. 23, 1971. A doc­tor tested a spoon­ful of white sugar on 20 pa­tients with per­sis­tent hic­cups and re­ported that 19 got quick re­lief from their hic­cups.

We sus­pect that sugar, like your Ro­laids, work by stim­u­lat­ing the phrenic nerve in the palate. This in turn trig­gers the va­gus nerve and ap­par­ently re­verses the in­vol­un­tary con­trac­tion of the di­aphragm. Strong fla­vors may also play a role.

QUES­TION: I take bupro­pion 300 mg XL for de­pres­sion. I’ve not had any prob­lems with it pre­vi­ously, but the lat­est bot­tle smells like rot­ten eggs. I called the phar­macy and they told me that some drugs smell and not to worry about it. They said the drug is safe to take. True?

AN­SWER: We learned from a sci­en­tist who worked at Bur­roughs Well­come when the firm was de­vel­op­ing the an­tide­pres­sant Well­butrin (bupro­pion) that the ter­ri­ble smell you de­scribe in­di­cates that the drug is de­te­ri­o­rat­ing. Some peo­ple who took Bude­prion XL 300, the first generic ver­sion of Well­butrin XL 300, also ex­pe­ri­enced the un­pleas­ant odor.

We asked read­ers of this col­umn to send us their Bude­prion bot­tles so we could for­ward them to the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion for anal­y­sis. The smell was dis­tinc­tive. We bad­gered the FDA for five years, and the agency even­tu­ally con­cluded that there were prob­lems with that generic for­mu­la­tion.

Your phar­macy should find another sup­plier. If need be, you could or­der brand-name Well­butrin XL 300 from Canada at sub­stan­tial sav­ings.

QUES­TION: I’ve had an on­go­ing prob­lem with yeast over­growth on both sides of my mouth for nearly a year. I’ve seen the der­ma­tol­o­gist mul­ti­ple times, and she di­ag­nosed yeast.

I have tried var­i­ous top­i­cal creams. The only one that does any good is a com­bi­na­tion of clotri­ma­zole and be­tametha­sone. The trou­ble is, she says not to use it long-term.

The pills she would like to pre­scribe ei­ther con­tain ti­ta­nium diox­ide, to which I’m al­ler­gic, or cost over $300. I’m re­tired and liv­ing on So­cial Se­cu­rity. I can’t af­ford to spend money on pills that might not work. Please help!

AN­SWER: It sounds like you are de­scrib­ing an­gu­lar cheili­tis, painful cracks at the cor­ners of the mouth. Yeast over­growth is of­ten the cause, although some­times peo­ple who have be­come de­fi­cient in zinc, vi­ta­min B2 or vi­ta­min B12 will re­spond to sup­ple­ments.

Other read­ers have re­ported suc­cess treat­ing the cracked cor­ners of their mouths with am­ber Lis­ter­ine. This old-fash­ioned mouth­wash con­tains es­sen­tial oils with an­ti­fun­gal ac­tiv­ity. Be­cause yeast is a form of fun­gus, this can some­times be help­ful.

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