Cut back on drinking to quit smoking; use caution in the use of Cipro anitbiotic

 

 

Q: My friend said she had to quit drinking so she could quit smoking. I don’t understand what she’s talking about. Is there science there, or is it all in her head? — Beth C., Armonk, New York

A: Yup, there’s a scientific link between alcohol and nicotine metabolism. Your friend is smart to do whatever it takes to help her quit.

As you may know, Dr. Mike and his Wellness Center folks dedicate a lot of time to helping people breathe free (quitting inhaled nicotine products, including cigarettes and e-cigs) because it’s so difficult to quit once you’re hooked. Today, according to the Food and Drug Administration, over 7,000 chemicals exist in cigarettes, and there are a ton in vaped ones, too!

Getting away from those toxins improves skin and heart health, protects your brain, and reduces your risk for cancers and lung diseases. But back to your question …

We’ve known for a while that people with higher nicotine metabolism ratios (the faster you metabolize nicotine, the faster you’ll crave another cigarette) are likely to smoke more and have a harder time quitting, even after using patches and other smoking-cessation techniques.

Well, it turns out that drinking alcohol speeds up nicotine metabolism, making you want to smoke more. Reduce alcohol intake, and you tamp down your urge to smoke!

A recent collaborative research effort from Oregon State University, University of Toronto and University of Guelph in Ontario has shown that lowering a person’s nicotine metabolism rate through reduced drinking could provide an edge when trying to stop smoking. The researchers explain it this way: “The reduction in alcohol use and nicotine metabolic rate (NMR) in men provides indirect support for alcohol [intake] increasing NMR.”

So, your friend is spot on. We hope she’s doing well and continues to breathe free.

Q: I had a urinary tract infection about a year ago and went to the emergency room to get treated. They gave me Cipro, which cleared it up, but I had stomach problems afterward

Then I heard it’s toxic for the liver, nerves and the heart. Why would they give this to you in the ER? — Mary D., Tucson, Arizona

A: If you find yourself in the emergency department with a respiratory or urinary tract infection, the first-line antibiotic that doctors or nurse practitioners probably will dispense is ciprofloxacin (Cipro). It’s the most popular antibiotic in the class of fluoroquinolones, and docs choose those in situations where they don’t know exactly what bacteria is causing the problem. They work because they’re broad spectrum, which means they can treat a whole range of infections.

Unfortunately, they’ve been known to cause serious problems. Six years ago, the Food and Drug Administration warned that fluoroquinolones may cause sudden, serious and potentially permanent nerve damage. Since then, they’ve also warned about tendon, muscle and joint damage. Add to that a National Institutes of Health warning of toxic liver damage if they’re taken for one to four weeks.

Now we have the latest FDA warning: This class of antibiotics can cause fatal heart damage in patients who have, “aortic aneurysm or are at risk for an aortic aneurysm.” That includes folks with peripheral atherosclerotic vascular diseases such as PAD (peripheral artery disease), high blood pressure, certain genetic conditions and the elderly. When you consider that about 75 million American adults — about one in three — have high blood pressure, there are a lot of people at risk if they take antibiotics such as Cipro.

Our advice? If you’re presented with Cipro in the emergency room, ask about effective antibiotics that are not fluoroquinolones. You even could ask for a second opinion from an infectious disease specialist. In some situations, the benefits of Cipro and its cousins far outweigh the risks; in others, you want to find an alternative. Which options you have all depends on what kind of infection brought you to the ER.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen at youdocsdaily@sharecare.com.

(c) 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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