Q: Is it safe to drink prune juice every day to stay regular? Can a person become addicted to its use?A: People have asked about addiction to lots of things - sleeping pills, nose drops, coffee and sedatives - but this is the first time anyone has ever asked about prune juice. Although we counsel against overuse of laxatives, we can't imagine anyone getting into trouble with prunes.
The ``funny' fruit is high in vitamins A and B-6, potassium, magnesium and fiber. You may not need to drink prune juice more than once or twice a week to stay regular, but there is no evidence that a daily dose of prunes is harmful. That's not true of many laxatives, herbal or otherwise.
Q: I read about Wellbutrin in a medical newsletter two years ago. They said it is supposed to enhance sexual desire. But my doctor says he has never heard of it.
I know doctors sometimes prescribe estrogen for women with low libido, but I had cancer several years ago and can't take any form of estrogen.
Please tell me if Wellbutrin is available and how ther study, however, and the company denies that the drug is in any way an aphrodisiac.
Because the drug does have the potential to cause adverse reactions, including nausea, headache, tremor, insomnia, jitteriness and occasionally seizures, it should not be used casually.
Q: I have seen a nutrient called Coenzyme Q10 being sold in health food stores. It is purported to be very effective in treating congestive heart failure, angina and high blood pressure.
I was skeptical about such claims until I went to the library and found several articles in scientific journals which seemed to confirm them. If Co Q10 is as useful and non-toxic as these researchers say, then why is it not used in American medical practice?
A: Some doctors may use Coenzyme Q10 (also known as ubiquinone) though we doubt that it has gained wide acceptance yet. Some articles in the medical literature suggest Co Q10 may be helpful for congestive heart failure and angina, but we would have to characterize this research as preliminary.
Although Co Q10 is a natural substance that appears quite safe, large-scale, scientifically controlled studies are needed for the medical establishment to evaluate its ability to enhance the pumping action of the heart. Until that proof is available, few doctors will accept its benefits.
Q: I would like to use a motion-sickness drug such as Antivert or Dramamine on trips. The label states, however, ``Avoid use in case of enlarged prostate.'
I don't see the connection. What would Dramamine do to a man with prostate enlargement?
A: Such medications can cause difficult or painful urination. You and other men with enlarged prostates are especially susceptible to this side effect. In the worst case, you could find your bladder full but be unable to empty it, a urinary emergency that sometimes requires catheterization.