Archive of ‘Medication’ category

Back to School & Preventing Brain Injuries

During spring and summer months, as well as weekends, children are more likely to have head injuries, particularly when they are most active outdoors. As a result, many parents find it hard to keep their children injury-free during summer vacation, but once school starts the incidence of injury continues with school sports and during regular activities throughout the school day.

 

Although tripping, falling, and getting minor bumps and bruises seem to be a natural part of being a kid, injuries to the head must always be taken seriously. The Brain Injury Association of America reports that each year, 62,000 children between the ages of 0-19 sustain brain injuries that require hospitalization. Additionally, over 500,000 are treated in the ER for TBI. While you can’t always prevent injuries from occurring, you can make sure your children are safe at school and during extracurricular activities.

In the Classroom, On the Playground

 

Teachers do their best to closely monitor children in the classroom and in the hallways, but children are notorious for goofing around, not thinking about the potentially dangerous outcome. The playground can be particularly dangerous and a frequent place for injuries, despite the close monitoring from a trained staff member. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Although you can’t watch every move your child makes during his or her school day, you can remind him or her how to stay safer at school.

 

  • Avoid engaging in horseplay. Pulling on a friend’s shirt during a game of tag or purposefully bumping or tripping a classmate can cause serious injuries.

 

  • Don’t lean back in chairs and keep all four legs of the chair on the floor. If the chair slips, your child could hit his or her head on the floor, causing a brain injury.

 

  • Follow all rules in the classroom, in the lunchroom, in the hallways, and on the playground.

 

Additionally, as a parent, you should recognize the signs of a TBI, in case your child comes home from school seeming a little “off”. If he or she was engaging in unsafe behaviors he or she may be more likely to withhold information about an injury.

After School, On the Field

 

Organized sports are a wonderful way for your child to gain confidence, be healthy, and work as a team player. Unfortunately, sports are also a common way to receive a life-changing head injury. From a bicycle ride with friends after school to leading the school in a cheer while flipping in the air to making a touchdown before being tackled, most types of sports are potentially dangerous and can lead to a TBI. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to be involved in your child’s extra curricular sports. Showing up and cheering your son or daughter on is encouraging, but make sure the sport is as safe as possible.

 

Talk to the coaches about their safety plans or how they treat head injuries. Do they make players stay out of games until they are given a “go ahead” or are they put back in the game right away? Do players wear protective gear all the time or only during games or matches? Is the sport age appropriate for your child or is it too aggressive? Anytime you feel like your child’s safety is in danger, you should speak up; it could prevent a TBI.

Progesterone and TBI

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) results from a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts brain function. As reported on Brainline, of the 1.7 million people in the U.S. who suffer TBI every year, 52,000 die, 275,000 are hospitalized, and 1.365 million are treated in emergency rooms and released. Severe TBI can cause unconsciousness or amnesia and may result in long-term independent function problems for victims.

Hopes for Progesterone and TBI in the Scientific Community

Progesterone is a female hormone involved in menstrual cycles and reproduction that can also be found in the brains of both males and females. According to a Life Extension Magazine article, neuroscientist Donald G. Stein, PhD, and some of his colleagues noted that some females recover more completely and quickly from brain injury than males do, and began investigating the neuroprotective effects of progesterone more than 30 years ago.

Studies with animals have indicated that progesterone may reduce damage to the brain and improve recovery from TBI. As reported in the Life Extension article, Dr. Stein’s successful experiments using progesterone to alleviate the effects of brain injury to rats eventually led to clinical trials using progesterone to treat humans suffering from TBI.

In 2012, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) published the findings of a study conducted to assess the safety and effectiveness of progesterone for treating patients with acute TBI. Data for the study was obtained from 3 randomized controlled trials of progesterone versus placebo for treatment of a total of 315 acute TBI patients. This study concluded that progesterone may improve neurologic outcome for TBI victims, but that evidence was insufficient and further controlled trials would be required.

Disappointing Results of Further Clinical Trials

On December 25, 2014, the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a double-blind clinical trial in which 882 patients with moderate, moderate-to-severe, or severe acute brain injury were randomly given either progesterone or a placebo within 4 hours after injury, with treatments continuing for 96 hours. Most of the patients received their injuries through motor vehicle accidents.

The results of the trial were disappointing, to say the least. There was no significant difference in favorable outcomes for patients treated with progesterone as compared to those treated with a placebo. The conclusion of the study was that progesterone has no clinical benefit for acute TBI patients.

According to a February 10, 2015 Health News article, the study, which was funded by NIH and known as Pro TECT-III, began in April 2009 and continued to October 2013. The University of Cincinnati Medical Center was among the 49 trauma centers that participated in the study and enrolled 85 of the 882 patients involved. Patients were followed closely by researchers for 6 months after treatment.

As reported in the Health News article, Jordon Bonomo, M.D., lead investigator for the trial in Cincinnati, said that the research team was disappointed to learn that progesterone was not as helpful as had been hoped. Dr. Bonomo also commented on the importance of developing new therapies to treat TBI.

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The Untold Dangers of Anesthesia

dangers or Anesthesia

The prospect of undergoing invasive surgery can be scary, especially for those who have never been “under the knife” before. While the risks of any surgery can be frightening, it is the untold side effects of anesthesia that may be most concerning for many patients. According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals who receive anesthesia may be at risk for the development of mental confusion, heart attack, stroke, or even death. Understanding why these conditions occur—and how they can be avoided—is crucial for those who are considering medical procedures that require anesthesia.

Permanent Mental Confusion

Anesthesia is designed to induce a coma-like state for men and women who are undergoing invasive surgery or other medical procedures. When used properly, anesthesia eliminates pain, erases memory, induces a state of unconsciousness, and artificially “paralyzes” the body. As anesthesia starts to wear off, patients often experience a high degree of drowsiness, confusion, and even agitation. While it is common for the patient to experience these symptoms on a short-term basis, there is also a risk of the development of permanent mental confusion following the use of anesthesia during surgery or other similar medical therapies.

Heart Attack

WebMD reports that individuals who receive anesthesia may also be at risk for the development of a heart attack. Traditionally, a heart attack occurs when the arteries of the heart become blocked with plaque and fatty deposits—thus limiting the amount of blood supply to the working organ. However, research shows that certain types of medications, including those found in anesthesia, can also be to blame when it comes to the development of this type of condition. Individuals who have a family history of heart disease or have suffered a heart attack in the past may not be appropriate for treatments that require the use of anesthesia.

Stroke

As with a heart attack, stokes occur when blood supply to a certain part of the body—in this case, the brain—is limited. Unfortunately, recovery from a stroke can be quite difficult, and may result in permanent disability in regards to specific bodily functions. Anesthesia is often blamed for the development of a stroke due to its association with increasingly high blood pressure levels and dangerous heart arrhythmias. Patients who have high blood pressure often require close monitoring during anesthesia to avoid the development of this serious and de-habilitating condition.

Death

Death is perhaps the most serious danger associated with medical treatments requiring anesthesia. While a patient can die following anesthesia as a result of a heart attack or stroke, infection, allergic reactions, and over dosages can also be fatal. Individuals who are scheduled to receive anesthesia should be sure to meet with their medical team well in advance of the planned procedure to discuss both the risks and benefits of the treatment. Patients who do not feel comfortable receiving anesthesia after speaking with their healthcare team should consider what other options are available to them when treating their specific medical condition.

Zoloft and the Link to Birth Defects

Zoloft Dangers

For most moms-to-be, pregnancy is a very emotional time. Not only are they dealing with an increase in the number of hormones coursing through their body, but are also preparing to bring new life into the world. While women often consider pregnancy to be an exciting time, some women can find themselves sinking into a depression. Unfortunately, some of the medications used to treat depression—including Zoloft—can have severe side effects, including the development of life threatening birth defects.

What is Zoloft?

Understanding the basics behind Zoloft is crucial for those who want to prevent the development of birth defects in their unborn children. According to Drugs.com, Zoloft is a prescription medication used in the treatment and management of depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Zoloft is often classified as an anti-depressant, and falls into a class of medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors—or SSRIs. In addition to the conditions described above, some physicians and other healthcare providers may prescribe Zoloft from the management of insomnia, chronic acne, and other various conditions.

 How to Use Zoloft

As with most other medications, using Zoloft in a safe and responsible manner is very important to prevent potential complications. Individuals who receive the oral tablet form of Zoloft can feel comfortable taking the medication with or without food, as long as it is consumed at the same time each day. In contrast, those who use the liquid version of the product must carefully dilute it with water, ginger ale, or lemon-lime soda before its consumption. Failing to take Zoloft in the described manner cannot only decrease its effectiveness, but may lead to serious complications or health risks for the patient.

Birth Defects Associated with Zoloft

While Zoloft is safe to use for most people, women who are pregnant should never ingest the medication. In fact, pregnant women who do take Zoloft may be at greater risk for the delivery of an infant born with moderate to severe forms of birth defect. Some of the most common birth defects associated with maternal Zoloft intake include pulmonary stenosis, tetralogy of fallot, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, ventricular septal defects, cleft palate, and skull defects. In addition, more and more research is suggesting that infants who are exposed to Zoloft in utero may be at risk for the development of Downs’ syndrome.

Seeking Assistance

Obviously, Zoloft is a dangerous drug that should not be used under any circumstances by women who are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant. Those who suffer from depression or any of the other mental health conditions described above should talk with their healthcare provider about weaning from the prescription as soon as possible. In most cases, these women can be easily transitioned to another medication that does not feature such serious health risks. Once the baby has been born, mothers who are not breastfeeding may be able to return to the use of this product.

Medical Malpractice: Cosmetic Surgeries and Anesthesia Dangers

cosmetic surgery

Anesthesia comes in several different varieties. Some of the worst medical mistakes involve anesthesia and, if you’ve been the victim of such a mistake, you may want to consider speaking with a medical malpractice attorney. Where cosmetic procedures are concerned, you may be given any one of the four major types of anesthesia. Anesthesia dangers are issues in any such situation and you should be informed of these dangers before the procedure is undertaken.

The Four Types of Anesthesia

The four most common types of anesthesia are listed below, from the NIH.

Local Anesthesia

This is the least intensive form of anesthesia. You may have had this used when you’ve had minor procedures done that may not have been terribly involved but which may have been very painful without this procedure. Local anesthesia leaves you awake and fully alert and aware of your surroundings. It merely numbs the area being operated on. This type of anesthesia is used by dentists, doctors and other professionals who may perform procedures that would otherwise be horribly uncomfortable.

Intravenous Sedation, IV Sedation

This type of anesthesia combines a sedative and an analgesic to kill the pain. You’ll generally be awake after having this type of anesthesia. Sedation dentistry oftentimes utilizes this type of anesthesia to make long and painful procedures bearable. It is also used for some cosmetic procedures, provided the pain involved is not likely to be too extreme.

Regional Anesthesia

This type of anesthesia blocks out all the pain signals from a specific area of the body. Women going through labor oftentimes have this done so that they don’t have to deal with the pain. This procedure may be used on limbs or other areas of the body. Cosmetic procedures may be done under this type of anesthesia to avoid some of the dangers that go along with general anesthesia.

General Anesthesia

This is the most extreme form of anesthesia. It involves bringing you to the point where you are unconscious and where you feel nothing at all. You will have no memory of what happened when you awake from this type of anesthesia. It is also the most dangerous form of anesthesia and takes a great deal of training to perform. This type of anesthesia is used in many cosmetic procedures and carries with it great risks.

Anesthesia mistakes involve everything from not giving enough medication and leaving patients fully aware and feeling a procedure, but unable to move. It can involve accidental death and other outcomes, as well.