Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Do You Know What's in That Medicine?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Do You Know What's in That Medicine?

Article excerpt

Today's science education begins with a Beaches Fun Fact.

If you have white toothpaste, hunt for the ingredients listed

in small print. Titanium dioxide, a mineral also called rutile,

may be included. It is probably found on your floor because it

is also known as beach sand.

After 16 years as a paramedic, I am still amazed at how few

people know by name what medicines they take. People often take

doctor-prescribed medicines without asking. At least the doctor

knows what it's for. Patients should, too.

Many people take over-the-counter medicines based only on brand

names and advertising. This may be medically unsafe, if you

should not be taking something like aspirin. It can also cost


The abbreviation mg stands for milligrams. One large paper clip

weighs about 1,000 milligrams, or one gram. Bayer is 325

milligrams of aspirin, period. Anacin contains 400 milligrams of

aspirin and 32 milligrams of caffeine. Extra Strength Excedrin

has 250 milligrams of aspirin, 250 of acetaminophen and 65 of

caffeine (and titanium dioxide). Bufferin is aspirin with a

buffer to soothe stomachs.

Aspirin contains only aspirin. It was once the "strongest pain

reliever available without a prescription," until acetaminophen,

and then ibuprofen, were released. Ibuprofen comes in 200

milligrams tablets, down from the prescription doses of 400 or

more. Call it Advil, Motrin or Nuprin, it's all ibuprofen.

Tylenol is acetaminophen.

Read the labels and buy the generic equivalent and save money.

Usually, one gets the same effect. Recently, a 200-milligram,

250-count store brand of ibuprofen sold for $9.19, while the

name brand version was $12.99 for the same amount.

Two non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs, once sold only by

prescription, are being sold in stores. Naproxen sodium is now

available as Aleve. Orudis is a new entry with 12.5-milligram

pills of ketoprofen. Generic forms will be available some day.

Many medicines were once prescription items and are now for

sale in various forms. …

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