DEAR DR. ROACH: Help! I am caught in a feud between my primary care doctor and my oral surgeon. For a number of years, I have been on Prolia for osteopenia. About a year ago, I had to have a tooth pulled; my oral surgeon said I must be off Prolia for at least four months; my doctor disagreed, saying it is more risky to stop the Prolia. I feel a ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My wife, who's 72, has had very dry eyes for a long time, so she uses Restasis (cyclosporine emulsion 0.05%) eye drops. Her co-pay (after meeting the deductible) last year was around $150 for a three-month supply. This year, it is around $450 (only a small change in the deductible with the same part D insurance provider), and she...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My healthy 91-year-old mother recently discovered that she has a diagnosis of trigger finger. She is hesitant to do surgery, but is hoping for more mobility in her hand. What are some of the best options for an independent woman at her age? -- M.B.
ANSWER: Stenosing flexor tenosynovitis, more commonly known as "trigger finger," ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have arthritis in both knees, but otherwise, I'm in good health (I'm 5'6" and weigh 130 pounds). My Fitbit indicates I get about 9,000 steps per day. I am ready for knee replacement, but I'm concerned about one activity I do. We usually spend two consecutive weeks at the beach, and I love to boogie board. When the tide is ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I suffered a lower back injury in 2001, with crushed and bulging discs in the L2, L3, L4 and L5 vertebras. After over a year of physical therapy and drugs, my pain doctor tried an epidural injection, which did not work, and then suggested I try something new at that time called a radiofrequency ablation, also called a lumbar ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm an 80-year-old male who learned from a much younger male about the tremendous improvement he's had in his life since undergoing a TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate) procedure.
I hadn't know he was having a problem and had been through the drug routine that was providing him with limited improvement. Against my ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband is taking Eliquis for atrial fibrillation (AFib). The cost is going up, and there is no generic brand for Eliquis. Looking at drug websites, I have found other drugs that are anticoagulants: Xarelto, heparin and warfarin are a few. Is there a generic brand you would recommend that we can ask his doctor about to see if ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I've had a leaky aortic valve for approximately six years. I recently had an echocardiogram using Doppler. The last test I received was three years ago, which came back with a reading of mild-to-moderate aortic regurgitation. It initially started out as mild, then increased to mild-to-moderate in 2019. My test results for 2022 ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My husband has a tumor in the right sinus of his face, and the biopsy results show that it is cancer of the salivary glands (adenoid cystic carcinoma). The oral surgeon says it will continue to grow and cause discomfort, and wants to remove part of his jaw and teeth to do reconstructive work. All this involves several weeks in ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 77 and have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. I am taking Fosamax and taking all the steps recommended for strengthening bones. But I have two questions: First, is it possible to avoid a fracture without taking medication. Second, is it necessary to avoid coffee completely? I am confused about both questions, having read a ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I've been seeing a man -- he's 75, and I'm 77. He uses the blue pill; however, he can't orgasm. I don't want him to feel insecure if I were to ask him questions, so could you explain his problem to me? -- Anon.
ANSWER: The "blue pill," Viagra (sildenafil), is a treatment for erectile dysfunction, and it works by increasing blood...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I need your opinion. I was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer almost two years ago. I have had chemo treatments (Keytruda, carboplatin and Alimta) for over one year. My most recent PET and CT scans of my lungs were all stable, with no change. My oncologist says that I do not have to come back for three months, and to get ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: My dad has been on hospice care for several months now. He had an untreated wound infection that was not responding to meds, so he went on hospice. Also, his wife died, and he lost the will to live after that.
His sugars are well into the 400s. He is on pain meds and nothing else. His doctor says he should not have lasted this ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have several family members with autoimmune diseases. I read about a study from Germany where people with lupus were treated with CAR T cells, which proved effective. Will this treatment be available for other autoimmune diseases? -- R.C.
ANSWER: The immune system has two major components: antibody-producing cells (B cells) ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 73-year-old male. This year, I had a colonoscopy. They found some small polyps and one larger polyp. All polyps tested negative for cancer. I have had two previous colonoscopies in the past 10 years. Polyps were found in each one. My gastroenterologist said I should have another colonoscopy in one year. There has been no ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I was confused by your column the other day, as well as the response regarding weight loss to a writer who is losing height due to aging and/or osteoporosis.
Would it be possible to please obtain more information about why it's not necessary to lose weight unless someone is in the morbidly obese range? I am confused. You also ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Can you please provide details on which cholesterol numbers to pay attention to? Half of my numbers are in the "good" range, and the other half are in the "bad" range. My total cholesterol is 248 mg/dL, triglycerides is 77, cholesterol/HDL ratio is 2.8, HDL is 88, LDL is 142, and non-HDL is 160. My total cholesterol has been over...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 76-year-old male. A few months ago, I suddenly had the worst pain in my life, centered in the right side of my tongue, of all places. It felt like a live electrical wire was touching my tongue. It was excruciating. I had been to a dentist the week before, but only to have the covering replaced on an implant crown. There ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: Today was a real eye-opener for me. Two days ago, I visited my doctor, who prescribed vancomycin for a digestive problem I was having. Today I got a call from my usual big-chain pharmacy telling me my prescription was ready at a cost of $685 for a 10-day supply.
I called my drug plan provider (I am on Medicare with a ...Read more
DEAR DR. ROACH: I have always wondered if it matters if you swallow a bunch of pills in one swallow or if it would be better to space them out. I take a bunch, like Eliquis, dicyclomine, gabapentin, etc. -- B.A.
ANSWER: With most pills, it's OK to take them as a bunch together, if you can tolerate doing so (I've known people who have a tough ...Read more