Treating Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, a common brain disorder, does not yet have a cure, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several medications that can help treat the symptoms.

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Even without the presence of symptoms, people may still be suffering from bipolar disorder. Bipolar I and bipolar II disorder are the two different types of this ailment.

Bipolar I disorder, which is often referred to as manic-depressive illness, has symptoms that include mood swings, shifts I energy and activity levels, and an inability to complete everyday tasks. Patients often switch between periods of depression and periods of high energy known as manic episodes.

With bipolar II disorder, people tend to skip the severe manic episodes, but still experienced reduced mania known as hypomania. They may remain productive and not feel as though they have an issue until they hit low periods of depression. This is where diagnosis is a must.

Symptoms of depression include, but are not limited to:

  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • A lack of energy
  • The inability to experience enjoyment
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms of mania include, but are not limited to:

  • An elevation of mood or irritability
  • Increased restlessness or activity
  • Faster speech or racing thoughts
  • The feeling of less need for sleep

Mitchell Mathis, M.D., director of the Division of Psychiatry Products at the FDA spoke about mania and how it can make people engage in risky, impulsive behavior that is out of character and potentially dangerous.

What Should You Do if You Think You Have Bipolar Disorder

If you believe that you have the symptoms of bipolar disorder, you need to seek help from a mental health professional as soon as possible.

It’s incredibly important that you don’t ignore these symptoms in yourself or a loved one. Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional to get a proper diagnosis.

Mathis explains how a doctor can complete a laundry list of exams before delivering a diagnosis, as doing so will eliminate other potential health issues. Your doctor will rule out everything else before recommending a mental health professional.

The Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

There are many FDA-approved treatment options available to people with bipolar disorder.

The medications used to treat bipolar disorder include:

  • Mood stabilizers – these medications are designed to prevent mania, hypomania, and depressive episodes by balancing certain brain chemicals
  • Antipsychotic drugs – these medications include “atypical antipsychotics,” which are relatively new

The main issue with medications is that they often come with side effects. If you are taking mood stabilizers, there is the chance that you may experience increased thirst, trembling or nausea. With antipsychotic meds, dizziness, sleepiness, and restlessness are common side effects.

If your doctor prescribes atypical antipsychotics, do not be surprised if he or she asks for regular monitoring of your weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol. Increases in all three can be side effects when on these medications.

Most Commonly Asked Questions About Tattoo Safety

A Harris Poll from 2015 confirmed something we already knew, which is that tattoos are more popular than ever, with roughly 29% of people surveyed saying that they have at least 1 tattoo. With this popularity comes an increase in infections caused by contaminated ink or from a reaction to the ink. This is according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Reports of adverse reactions to tattoos have been flowing into the FDA, with a total of 363 coming between 2004 and 2016.

What is More Concerning? Unsafe Practices or the Tattoo Ink

You should probably be concerned about both. Unsafe practices include the use of equipment that has been improperly sterilized, with infections often coming from mold or bacteria on said instruments. Some tattoo shops also use non-sterile water to dilute the pigments, but that is one of many potential offenses.

There is no easy way to tell if an ink is safe to use. Contamination may still occur even when the container is sealed and marked as sterile.

What is Used to Make Tattoo Ink?

Research has revealed that pigments used in car paint or printer toner sometimes show up in tattoo ink. No pigments used for injection into the skin have been approved by the FDA.Consumers and healthcare providers are who commonly reports adverse reactions to the FDA, but they may also hear from state authorities who regulate tattoo shops.

What Reactions can be Expected after Getting a Tattoo?

Redness or a rash may be present in the area where you were tattooed, and you may also experience a fever.

If the infection is more severe, you may experience chills, shakes, sweats, and a very high fever. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the infection, and may take months of treatment. You may also find yourself in a hospital for surgery. All of this may be a sign of an allergy to the inks, and as they are permanently in your body, the reaction may continue unabated.

Is There the Potential for Scar Tissue after a Tattoo?

There is a definite chance of scar tissue forming, or perhaps small bumps or knots known as granulomas. The latter is a sign that your body views the ink as being a foreign object. People prone to keloids (scarring beyond normal boundaries) may also develop a reaction.

Can Tattoos make MRI’s Uncomfortable?

People who have had a tattoo sometimes complain about a swelling or a burning sensation when they have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), although these cases are rare and the symptoms short-lived. Make you MRI tech aware of your tattoos before the procedure.

Are DIY Tattoos and Ink Kits Safe?

DIY kits are perhaps the most unsafe way for consumers to get a tattoo. Allergic reactions and infections are common, simply because consumers may not be aware of all the things they need to do to avoid contamination.

Could There be Potential Long-Term Problems?

The FDA and other agencies are still researching the long-term effects that may come from pigments, contaminated inks, and other sources. The FDA has received reports of people experiencing issued shortly after being tattooed, as well as some from consumers who did not experience issues until years later. Tattoos that contain phenylenediamine (PPD) may lead to you becoming allergic to other products.

There are also potential issues involved with the removal of tattoos, as very little is known about the consequences of breaking down pigments via laser treatments. What is known is that permanent scarring can occur after the removal of a tattoo.

What’s the Next Step if you Get an Infection after being Tattooed?

The first thing you need to do is talk to your doctor.

Secondly, let your tattoo artist know about the infection, as it may be a sign that their ink is contaminated. Ask them to tell you the color, brand, and batch number of the ink, as getting to the source of the infection may help with treatment options.

The Permanent Removal of Tattoos is Not That Easy

Getting a tattoo should be considered a lifetime commitment, as getting tattoo removed after the fact is a long process that will likely leave you permanently scarred.



The Risks Associated with Bodybuilding Products

Hang out at the gym long enough and you will be sure to hear people talk about the great products they are using to bulk up and become stronger. Are those products safe, though??

CDR Mark S. Miller, Pharm. D., a regulatory review officer at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), believes that many bodybuilding products contain ingredients, particularly steroids, that could pose a serious health risk, with liver issues at the top of the list.

In the period from July 2009 to December 2016, CDR Miller reviewed hundreds of adverse event reports submitted to the FDA. In 35 of those reports, there was evidence of serious liver injury.

Besides liver injury, hair loss, altered mood, severe acne, increases in aggression, irritability, and depression have also been associated with anabolic steroids.

There are also other more serious health issues associated with steroids, and they include blood clots in the lungs, stroke, heart attack, deep vein thrombosis, and kidney damage, all of which are considered to be life-threatening.

Manufacturers generally market these bodybuilding aids as hormone products to be used as alternatives to anabolic steroids when building strength and muscle mass.

Most of the claims made by the makers of these products have to do with the effectiveness of the active ingredients, which they say can diminish or enhance estrogen, androgen, or progestin-like effects in the body. In reality, they usually contain anabolic steroids or synthetic hormones that are related to testosterone, a male hormone.

Steroids May be Included in Bodybuilding Products

Cara Welch, Ph.D., a senior advisor in FDA’s Office of Dietary Supplement Programs, is quick to point out that many bodybuilding products that you can get online or in a retail store are actually marketed as dietary supplements.

The problem, as Ms. Welch sees it, is that these products are not dietary supplements, and are in fact nothing more than unapproved drugs. None of them have been reviewed by the FDA to determine their safety prior to marketing.

CDR Jason Humbert, a regulatory operations officer in FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs, believes that the use of hidden, potentially harmful, ingredients in bodybuilding products are a legitimate concern.

People should be aware that the companies who market these products are in fact breaking the law and exploiting the consumers who purchase them.

The reality is that people want to believe the wild claims that the manufacturers make, but all that ends up happening is that they put their health at risk.


Symptoms, Tests, and Treatment of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the 2nd most common cause of death in American men, as well as being the most common form of cancer found in males. Prostate cancer is especially prevalent in African-American men, and twice as likely to be fatal.

Prostate cancer screening tests and treatments are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration to ensure safety and efficiency.

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It is found beneath the bladder, surrounding the upper area of the urethra, which is where urine is transported from the bladder.

Testing prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is used to measure prostate cancer risk. Prostate gland cells are responsible for producing PSA. This form of testing is responsible for the early detection of prostate cancer in the U.S.

The Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is generally a slow growing disease, which is why symptoms are often not seen until the advanced stages. When symptoms do hit, they usually include a weak or interrupted urine flow, difficulty starting urination, and more frequent urination, particularly at night.

It should be noted that these symptoms may not necessarily mean you have prostate cancer, as they also see in a benign enlarged prostate. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should make an appointment to see your doctor. Many men pass away without ever knowing prostate cancer was present, while others die from other causes. This form of cancer is at its most dangerous when it starts to spread outside the prostate. It is not usually found in men under 50, and experts believe that most elderly males have some traces of prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer Treatments

Survival benefits are a must for any prostate cancer treatment, which was why the FDA approved docetaxel, a chemotherapy, back in 2004. This was huge, since years of research had failed to deliver a treatment that effectively extended the life of metastatic (cancer that spread from the initial location to other areas of the body) prostate cancer patients.

Daniel Suzman, M.D., a medical officer in FDA’s Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, explains that prostate cancer essentially becomes incurable the moment it spreads to other parts of the body. The good news is that the FDA has approved 5 more products after docetaxel, all of which have shown to deliver improvements in survival.

Improved survival rates were also found when adding docetaxel to hormonal therapy for men with metastatic disease. Two major trials were performed on men who had previously gone untreated to achieve these results.

This treatment process is now considered standard for males who have experienced a spread of their disease to soft tissue spots or areas in the bone, assuming that they are good chemotherapy candidates. There are side effects, some fatal, that come with the use of docetaxel. These include serious allergic reactions and low white blood cell counts. More common side effects include loss of appetite, infection, low blood cell counts, nosebleeds, nerve pain, hair loss, rash, and weight gain.


The Treatment and Prevention of Head Lice

When your kids start school, they instantly become at risk for getting head lice, which they may then spread to other people in your household. Head lice can occur at any time but are most common in the fall when kids go back to school, as well as in January, according to Patricia Brown, M.D., a dermatologist at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

While many people believe that poor hygiene is the cause of head lice, the truth is that direct head-to-head contact with a head lice sufferer is how they spread. Head lice are only ever found on humans so your pet will be safe.

Discovering and Treating Head Lice

Head lice are generally about the size of a sesame seed, tan or grayish-white in color, and feed on human blood. They attach to the skin and lay eggs known as nits in the hair.

The best way to check for lice is to part the hair in a number of different spots. Using a bright light and magnifying glass will help you find them. Head lice move fast so you may have more luck tracking down the eggs. The nits have the appearance of dandruff, but when you pick up a strand of hair close to the scalp, the nits will stay in place, unlike dandruff, which is easily removed.

The FDA had approved head lice treatments that are available over the counter (OTC), as well as in prescription form. They often come as creams, lotions, and shampoos, with Nix and Rid among the most common. If you are using a product on a child under the age of 2, Brown says that it is important to carefully read the label to ensure that it is indeed safe to use.

Head Lice Prevention Tips

  • Make sure that your children know that they should avoid head-to-head contact at home, school, and when out playing with other kids
  • Teach little ones not to share items that they use on their head, which includes hats, scarves, helmets, bandanas, hair ties, brushes, and combs
  • Steer clear of items that have come into contact with someone who has head lice. This includes items like carpets, pillows, beds, and stuffed toys
  • Steer clear of items that contacted the head of a person with head lice 48 hours prior to the start of treatment

How to Safely use Treatment Products

Using the following steps will help you use head lice treatment products safely:

  • Once the product has been rinsed from the hair and scalp, use a nit comb to remove lice and nits that are now dead
  • Only apply products to the hair on the scalp, not anywhere else
  • Ask your doctor for a product recommendation so that you get the perfect treatment for the age and weight of your child
  • Read the label on the product and use it exactly as described, unless you are told to do otherwise by a medical professional




The Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention of Lyme Disease

Ticks deliver a variety of diseases, with Lyme disease at the top. The cases of these diseases are climbing, and have jumped from 12,000 per year in 1995 to almost 40,000 per year in 2015. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) try to keep track of the figures, but expert estimates put the real number of infections closer to 300,000.

Who is Susceptible to Lyme Disease, and at What Time of Year?

The bite from an infected disease is how Lyme disease is spread. The little pests will attach anywhere but are most attracted to most hairy body regions, such as the armpits and groin.

Anyone can fall prey to a tick bite, but outdoorsy types like hikers and campers, as well as people who work in gardens or leafy areas, are at the highest risk. With the suburbs expanding and woodland preservation in full effect, the number of deer and mice are on the rise, giving ticks plenty to feast on.

The Symptoms and Stages of Lyme Disease

Early-stage Lyme disease comes with the following symptoms:

  • muscle and joint aches
  • headache
  • fever
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • swollen lymph nodes

A rash that is known as Erythema migrans is another symptom found with Lyme disease. Roughly 80% of people infected with the disease will develop a rash, with about 20% of that number having a rash that looks like a bulls-eye.

The infection can reach the joints, nervous system, and heart if left untreated.

It may take weeks or months after a tick bite for later-stage symptoms to present themselves. These symptoms include:

  • heart-rhythm irregularities
  • arthritic symptoms such as pain and swelling in the joint, particularly the knee
  • nervous system abnormalities

The joints and nervous system can be hit with permanent damage during the late stages of Lyme disease. Fatalities are extremely rare.

Testing for and Treating Lyme Disease

You should talk to your doctor if you believe you may have Lyme disease.

Diagnostic tests that your doctor may use to check for Lyme disease are regulated by the FDA to ensure that they are safe and effective. Blood tests can be effective assuming the timing is right. These tests check for the antibodies that fight infection, but if they are done too soon after the tick bite, they may not work as well. Antibodies usually develop 2-5 weeks after the initial bite.

Prior to the completion of diagnostic tests, your doctor may prescribe a round of antibiotics. The CDC says that patients that are treated with the correct antibiotics may well experience a speedy, complete recovery from the early stages of Lyme disease.

Things You Can Do to Prevent Tick Bites

  • Steer clear of bushy, grassy areas, especially between May and July
  • Wear light-colored clothing so that you can easily spot ticks
  • Shoes, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts are essential wear
  • Tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks
  • Add an extra layer of protection by wearing a hat
  • Use insect spray with DEET on all uncovered body parts
  • Stick to trails and keep off grass and brush
  • Wash and dry your clothes at high temperatures when you get back indoors
  • Scan your body for ticks after being outside


Caring for Your Nails

Manicures and pedicures are a great way to stay looking good, but it’s important that the nail polishes and removers that you use are safe, which means using products regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Electronic, radiation emitting, products used to dry gel nail polish and artificial nails need to be regulated by the FDA.

The best way to stay safe, and still look good, is to make sure that you read the labels of these products and heed any warnings that may be listed there.

The Ingredients and Warnings on Cosmetic Nail Care Products

The FDA approves a lot of things before they go to market, but nail products and cosmetic ingredients (except for the majority of color additives) do not require approval.

While they do not require approval, they do still need to be safe to use as directed. Please note that nail products used for medical issues do require FDA approval, as they are classified as drugs.

Cosmetic nail products are usually labeled with instructions and warnings that inform consumers how the product should be used correctly. These include some or all of the following:

  • Some nail products are flammable, and should therefore not be exposed to open flames (cigarette lighter) or other sources of heat (curling iron)
  • Some products can injure the eyes, and should therefore be kept clear of the eyes
  • Some products should only be used in areas that are well ventilated
  • Some products are made from ingredients that are harmful if ingested. As such, they should not be consumed by humans or pets

When you order cosmetics online or at a retail store, be aware that the ingredients need to be listed in the order of decreasing amounts. This is worth knowing if you are allergic to certain ingredients, as you can avoid products that contain those items.

An example of such an issue can be found with nail polishes, some of which contain formaldehyde, which can cause an allergic reaction in some users. Allergic reactions are also common when using some types of artificial nails. The FDA website has more information about all the ingredients used in cosmetics.

The simple rule here is that you should always read the labels on cosmetic products and follow all directions. Nails salons should be well ventilated, so look for that when you go for a manicure.

Information About Nail Drying, Curing Lamps, and UV Exposure

UV (ultraviolet) curing lamps are devices used to dry gel nail polish and acrylic gel nails. You can buy your own online and will find them in most nail salons. The lamps use LED lights that emit UV radiation. While you might think that this is the same process used in tanning beds, the two are actually quite different. Tanning beds use sunlamps, and you can find more about their potential risks on the FDA website.

Skin damage can occur when it is exposed to UV radiation, especially if the skin is repeatedly exposed over time. Age spots, wrinkles, and potentially skin cancer can occur.

The FDA believes that nail curing lamps are low risk as long as they are used as directed. A study published back in 2013 showed that 36 minutes of daily exposure, even when using the worst lamp available, fell below the occupational limits for UV radiation. It should be noted that the results are in regard to healthy individuals and not those who have a sensitivity to UV radiation.