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Acne and how to treat it

People of all ages, including babies and the elderly, can develop acne. Up to 80% of people between 11 and 30 years of age have acne outbreaks, with 27% having severe acne, often leading to scaring. During adolescence, acne is more common in boys; in adults, acne is more common in women. By 40 years of age, 5% of women and men still have acne.

Acne and Diet

Diet, as a cause of acne, has been controversial. Chocolate, pizza, and nuts do not appear to cause acne, while there is some evidence that diets high in refined sugars and dairy products may be related to acne. There is a stronger connection between skim milk and acne compared with other dairy products: people who drink 2 glasses of skim milk daily have a 44% greater chance of developing acne. White bread, rice, potatoes, and pasta may likewise play a role.

Acne Treatment

Acne treatment depends on whether you have a mild, moderate, or severe type of acne. Sometimes your doctor will combine treatments to get the best results and to avoid developing drug-resistant bacteria. Treatment could include topical lotions or gels you put on blemishes or sometimes entire areas of skin, such as the chest or back. You might also take medicines by mouth as prescribed by your doctor.

Treatment for mild acne (whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples) may include:

  • Gentle cleansing with warm water and a mild soap, such as Dove or Cetaphil.
  • Applying benzoyl peroxide (such as Brevoxyl or Triaz).
  • Applying salicylic acid (such as Propa pH or Stridex).

If these treatments do not work, you may want to see your doctor. Your doctor can give you a prescription for stronger lotions or creams. You may try an antibiotic lotion. Or you may try a lotion with medicine that helps to unplug your pores.

Deeper blemishes, such as nodules and cysts, that come with more moderate to severe acne are more likely to leave scars. As a result, your doctor may give you oral antibiotics sooner to start the healing process. This kind of acne may need a combination of several therapies. Treatment for moderate to severe acne may include:

  • Applying benzoyl peroxide.
  • Draining of large pimples and cysts by a doctor.
  • Applying prescription antibiotic gels, creams, or lotions.
  • Applying prescription retinoids.
  • Applying azelaic acid.
  • Taking prescription oral antibiotics.
  • Taking prescription oral retinoids (such as isotretinoin).

Treatment for acne scars

There are many procedures to remove acne scars, such as laser resurfacing and dermabrasion. Some scars shrink and fade with time and it often takes 6 to 8 weeks for acne to improve after you start treatment. Keep in mind that some treatments may cause acne to get worse before it gets better.

If your acne still hasn’t improved after several tries with other treatment, your doctor may recommend that you take an oral retinoid, such as isotretinoin. Doctors prescribe this medicine as a last resort, because it has some rare but serious side effects and it is expensive.

Sources: WebMD and Pharmacy Times

 

 

The damaging effects of the sun

As the summer approaches, living right here at the beach makes it all the more easy and tempting to lounge in the sunshine. However, as the years roll by, too much time outdoors can put you at risk for wrinkles, age spots, scaly patches called actinic keratosis, and skin cancer. We’ll take a look at the damage the sun causes and what you can do to prevent and get relief from too much sun exposure.

Your tan may look nice, but that golden color is due to an injury to the top layer of your skin. When you soak up the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, it speeds up the aging of your skin and raises your risk of skin cancer. To prevent damage, be sure to use a “broad spectrum” sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher. Broad spectrum means one that blocks both UVA and UVB rays.

Ever had a sunburn? Most of us have and we all remember getting them. Your skin turns red, it feels hot to the touch, and you may have some mild pain. Sun Burn is really a first-degree burn since it affects only the outer layer of your skin. To get some relief from pain, take aspirin or ibuprofen. Try a cold compress, or apply some moisturizing cream or aloe.

A second-degree sunburn damages deep layers of your skin and nerve endings. It’s usually more painful and takes longer to heal. You may have redness and swelling. If blisters form, don’t break them. They might get infected.

Premature aging is also a side-effect of too much time in the sun. Ultraviolet light in daylight damages the fibers in your skin called elastin. When that happens, it begins to sag and stretch. Wearing sunscreen everyday — whether your laying out on the beach or riding a bike — is important to prevent damaged skin.

Too much sun causes some areas of your skin to appear darker, while others look lighter. It can also make permanent changes in small blood vessels, which gives you a reddish look in places.

Some of us were born with freckles, but you can also get these on areas of your body that are exposed to the sun. You’ll notice them more in the summer, especially if you’re fair-skinned or have light or red hair. Freckles aren’t bad for you. But some cancers in the earliest stages can look like one. See your doctor if the size, shape, or color of a spot changes, or if it itches or bleeds.

Melasma, also known as Pregnancy Mask, shows up as tan or brown patches on your cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin. It’s common among women who are pregnant, but men can get it too. It may go away after your pregnancy ends, but you can also treat it with prescription creams and over-the-counter products. Use sunscreen at all times if you have melasma, because daylight can make it worse..

Age Spots, or Solar Lentigines, are pesky brown or gray areas that aren’t really caused by aging, though more of them show up on your body as you get older. You get them from being out in the daylight. They often appear on your face, hands, and chest. Bleaching creams, acid peels, Retin-A products, and light treatments can make them less obvious. They don’t harm your health, but check with your doctor to make sure they’re not something more serious, like skin cancer.

Women’s Health Week: Tips for Taking Care of You

This week is National Women’s Health Week. Led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, the goal is to empower women to make their health a priority. This is also a time to help women understand what steps they can take to improve their health.

What steps can I take for better health?

  • Get active;
  • Eat healthy;
  • Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress;
  • Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, texting while driving, and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet;
  • And visit a doctor or nurse to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings.

Find your age group below and learn what steps you should take for good health based on your age:


Ages 18-39
High Blood Pressure:

  • Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80)
  • Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89
  • Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher

Reproductive Health:

  • Get a Pap test every 3 years if you are 21 or older and have a cervix
  • If you are 30 or older, you can get a Pap test and HPV test together every 5 years
  • Get tested for chlamydia yearly through age 24 if you are sexually active or pregnant
  • Age 25 and older, get tested for chlamydia if you are at increased risk, pregnant or not pregnant
  • Get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk, pregnant or not pregnant
  • Get tested for HIV at least once
  • Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse because you may need more frequent tests for HIV
  • All pregnant women need to be tested for HIV
  • Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk or pregnant

Cholesterol:

  • Starting at age 20, get a cholesterol test regularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease
  • Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested

Diabetes:

  • Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure.

Ages 40-49

High Blood Pressure:

  • Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80)
  • Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89
  • Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher

Breast Cancer Screening:

  • Discuss with your doctor

Reproductive Health:

  • Get a Pap test and HPV test together every 5 years if you have a cervix
  • Get tested for chlamydia if you are sexually active and at increased risk, pregnant or not pregnant
  • Get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk, pregnant or not pregnant
  • Get tested for HIV at least once
  • Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse because you may need more frequent tests for HIV
  • All pregnant women need to be tested for HIV
  • Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk or pregnant

Cholesterol:

  • Get a cholesterol test regularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease
  • Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested

Diabetes:

  • Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure.

Ages 50-64

High Blood Pressure:

  • Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80)
  • Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89
  • Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher

Bone Mineral and Density Test

  • Discuss with your doctor if you are at risk of osteoporosis

Breast Cancer Screening:

  • Starting at age 50, get screened every 2 years or as recommended by your doctor

Reproductive Health:

  • Get a Pap test and HPV test together every 5 years if you have a cervix
  • Get tested for chlamydia if you are sexually active and at increased risk
  • Get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk,
  • Get tested for HIV at least once
  • Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse because you may need more frequent tests for HIV
  • Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk

Cholorectal Cancer Screening:

  • Starting at age 50, get screened for colorectal cancer.
  • Talk to your doctor about screen test options and which screening test is best for you and how often you need it.

Cholesterol:

  • Get a cholesterol test regularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease
  • Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested

Diabetes:

  • Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure.

Ages 65 and older

High Blood Pressure:

  • Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80)
  • Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89
  • Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher

Bone Mineral and Density Test

  • Get this test at least once at age 65 or older
  • Talk to your doctor or nurse about repeat testing

Breast Cancer Screening:

  • Get screened every 2 years through age 74
  • Age 75 and older, ask your doctor or nurse if you need to be screened

Reproductive Health:

  • Ask your doctor if you need to get a Pap test
  • Get tested for chlamydia if you are sexually active and at increased risk
  • Get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk,
  • Get tested for HIV at least once if you are age 65 and have never been tested
  • Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse because you may need more frequent tests for HIV
  • Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk

Cholorectal Cancer Screening:

  • Get screened for colorectal cancer through age 75
  • Talk to your doctor about screen test options and which screening test is best for you and how often you need it.

Cholesterol:

  • Get a cholesterol test regularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease
  • Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested

Diabetes:

  • Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure.

 

Source: U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services

New FDA Approved Drugs from 1st Quarter 2015

New medications are now approved to treat certain cancers, HIV, heart disease and even submental fat. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved these drugs in the first quarter of the year:

Corlanor
Corlanor (ivabradine)  is used to reduce hospitalization from worsening heart failure. Corlanor is approved for use in certain people who have chronic heart failure caused by the lower-left part of their heart not contracting well. The drug is indicated for patients who have symptoms of heart failure that are stable, a normal heartbeat with a resting heart rate of at least 70 beats per minute and are also taking beta blockers at the highest dose they can tolerate.

Farydak
Farydak (panobinostat) is used for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma – a form of blood cancer that arises from plasma cells, a type of white blood cell, found in bone marrow. According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 21,700 Americans are diagnosed with multiple myeloma and 10,710 die from the disease annually. Farydak works by inhibiting the activity of enzymes, known as histone deacetylases (HDACs). This process may slow the over-development of plasma cells in multiple myeloma patients or cause these dangerous cells to die. Farydak is the first HDAC inhibitor approved to treat multiple myeloma. It is intended for patients who have received at least two prior standard therapies, including bortezomib and an immunomodulatory agent. Farydak is to be used in combination with bortezomib, a type of chemotherapy, and dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory medication.

Evotaz
Evotaz is comprised of atazanavir and cobicistat. Aatazanavir is a protease inhibitor antiviral medication that prevents human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) cells from multiplying in your body. Cobicistat reduces the action of enzymes in your liver that break down certain antiviral medicines. This allows the antiviral medicines to be used more safely and effectively at lower doses. Evotaz is given together with other antiviral medicines to treat HIV in adults. HIV is the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). This medicine is not a cure for HIV or AIDS.

Avycaz
Avycaz (ceftazidime-avibactam) This new antibacterial drug product is used to treat adults with complicated intra-abdominal infections (cIAI)C, in combination with metronidazole, and complicated urinary tract infections (cUTI), including kidney infections (pyelonephritis), who have limited or no alternative treatment options.

Duopa
Duopa (carbidopa and levodopa) enteral suspension is for the treatment of motor fluctuations in patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease. Duopa is administered using a small, portable infusion pump that delivers carbidopa and levodopa directly into the small intestine for 16 continuous hours via a procedurally-placed tube.

Ibrance
Ibrance (palbociclib) is approved for the treatment of ER-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer. Ibrance works by inhibiting molecules, known as cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) 4 and 6, involved in promoting the growth of cancer cells. Ibrance is intended for postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative metastatic breast cancer who have not yet received an endocrine-based therapy. It is to be used in combination with letrozole, another FDA-approved product used to treat certain kinds of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

Lenvima
Lenvima (lenvatinib) is a new treatment for thyroid cancer in patients with progressive, differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) whose disease progressed despite receiving radioactive iodine therapy (radioactive iodine refractory disease). Lenvima is a kinase inhibitor, which works by blocking certain proteins from helping cancer cells grow and divide.

Opdivo
Opdivo (nivolumab) for the treatment of advanced squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with progression on or after platinum-based chemotherapy. Opdivo works by inhibiting the cellular pathway known as PD-1 protein on cells that blocks the body’s immune system from attacking cancerous cells. Opdivo is intended for patients who have previously been treated with platinum-based chemotherapy.

Unituxin
Unituxin (dinutuximab) for the treatment of pediatrics with high-risk neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer that forms from immature nerve cells. It usually begins in the adrenal glands but may also develop in the abdomen, chest or in nerve tissue near the spine. Neuroblastoma typically occurs in children younger than five years of age. According to the National Cancer Institute, neuroblastoma occurs in approximately one out of 100,000 children and is slightly more common in boys. There are an estimated 650 new cases of neuroblastoma diagnosed in the United States each year. Patients with high-risk neuroblastoma have a 40 to 50 percent chance of long term survival despite aggressive therapy. Unituxin is an antibody that binds to the surface of neuroblastoma cells. Unituxin is being approved for use as part of a multimodality regimen, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy for patients who achieved at least a partial response to prior first-line multiagent, multimodality therapy.

Kybella
Kybella (deoxycholic acid) is a treatment for adults with moderate-to-severe fat below the chin, known as submental fat. Using Kybella for the treatment of fat outside of the submental area is not approved and is not recommended. Kybella is administered as an injection into the fat tissue in the submental area. Patients may receive up to 50 injections in a single treatment, with up to six single treatments administered no less than one month apart.

 

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration