How do I get a miracle medicine for acid reflux here in the US? People’s Pharmacy

 How do I get a miracle medicine for acid reflux here in the US?  People's Pharmacy

DEAR PHARMACY PEOPLE: While visiting Italy, I had a terrible bout of acid reflux. A doctor prescribed an oral medication called Riopan, which I took before bed. It worked very well. I was told you can take it indefinitely without worrying about side effects.

Is this drug available in the United States by prescription or over the counter? It’s the best drug I’ve taken for this problem.

A. Riopan is an old-fashioned antacid first developed in Germany. It is known by the generic name of magaldrate and contains a combination of aluminum and magnesium hydroxides.

Although magaldrate is no longer available in the United States, you can get the same basic ingredients in familiar over-the-counter antacids such as DiGel, Gelusil, Maalox, and Mylanta.

To learn more about managing heartburn and other gastrointestinal issues, we recommend checking out our e-guide to overcoming digestive upset. This online resource is available on the Health eGuides tab at

DEAR PHARMACY PEOPLE: Ever since I started taking pregabalin, my memory has disappeared. Is it a side effect? I remembered everything, and this is disconcerting.

A. When we checked the official prescribing information for pregabalin (Lyrica), we found that the most common side effects are dizziness and drowsiness. Other adverse reactions that have been reported in clinical trials include thinking abnormal, amnesia, confusion and memory impairment.

A research report finds that although drugs such as pregabalin and gabapentin (Neurontin) are widely used, little data is available on the effects of these drugs on cognitive functions, such as learning memory (Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences, June 2017). Other readers have also complained of memory loss while taking pregabalin.

You should discuss this issue with your prescriber. If you ever consider stopping this drug, make sure your doctor provides you with a plan for tapering off. Suddenly stopping can lead to unpleasant adverse reactions.

DEAR PHARMACY PEOPLE: Why doesn’t the pharmacy write the actual expiration date on the patient’s bottle? It should have come from the large bottle they took the medicines from. They always put the discard date at one year from the dispense date, even if the source bottle has an expiration date years in the future.

The drugs are expensive and some people throw them away after a year, even though they may still be good. The beneficiaries are pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies.

The losers are the patients, the insurance companies and the country as a whole for wasting money on unnecessary things. Can anything be done about this practice?

A. We couldn’t agree more! For years we’ve been pestering the Food and Drug Administration about this problem with no resolution.

If a patient wants to report an adverse reaction to the FDA, they should complete Form 3500B. It requires an expiration date along with the lot number and NDC number.

Pharmacies rarely put the expiration date on the label if they transfer pills from the original manufacturer’s container. This means that patients have no way of knowing the true expiration date. This is not the case if the drug is dispensed in the original pharmaceutical company packaging. The law requires the expiration date along with the lot number and NDC number. We believe this should be available for all medicines dispensed.

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In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon respond to readers’ letters. Write to them by King Features, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, or email them via their website: Their most recent book is Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them.

(c) 2023 King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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