donohue 7.2

Dear Dr. Donohue: I have sweaty palms. I’ve seen a couple of doctors, who gave me antiperspirants. The most effective is Drysol, but it does not solve the problem. A doctor told me there are no solutions except maybe surgery, which he does not recommend. The problem has affected my job and embarrasses me socially. I hope you have some suggestions on how to stop the sweating. — C.A.

A black cloud of pessimism engulfs the doctor you saw. There are many solutions to your problem. None might give you complete relief, but you can find one that makes life more bearable.

Drysol, a 20 percent solution of aluminum chloride, is an effective sweat-stopper for many. Perhaps it was the way it was applied that made it a less-than-smashing success for you. You apply it to your palms nightly and then cover your hands with plastic gloves. The gloves enhance its absorption into the sweat glands. When sweating slackens, the application nights can be spaced further apart.

Botox is a newer treatment. It is the watered-down toxin of a bacterium that causes severe food poisoning — botulism. It blocks nerve stimulation to the sweat glands.

Then there is the Drionic device. With hands resting on water-saturated pads, the device delivers a small dose of electric current to the sweat glands and closes them off. I don’t work for the company, but I include its contact information in case you cannot find the product locally. It is: General Medical Company of Los Angeles, whose toll-free number is (800) 432-5362. The Web site is www.drionic.com.

Surgery is not out of the question. It has rescued many people who share your plight. The surgeon cuts the nerves that supply the palm’s sweat glands. This surgery is now being done with a laparoscope, the telescopic viewing device that is inserted through a small skin incision.

Don’t give up the ship. You haven’t begun the fight.

Dear Dr. Donohue: I am an 86-year-old widow and was in good health until my husband passed away a year ago. The doctor gave me Aricept for anxiety. I read in the paper that Aricept is a waste of money, so I stopped taking it. What is your advice? — R.J.

Aricept (donepezil) restores the brain’s supply of acetylcholine, one of the brain’s messenger chemicals. Acetylcholine is intimately involved in retrieving memories. Its primary use, therefore, is for people whose memory is fading, such as Alzheimer’s patients. It is not a wonder drug, but it is not a waste of money.

Medicines designed more for anxiety and depression might be better choices for you. The loss of a spouse of so many years is both depressing and anxiety-provoking.

It’s unwise to stop a medicine without conferring with your doctor first.

Dear Dr. Donohue: About 10 days ago, I noticed that my tongue was covered with red patches. It alarmed me so much that I called my dentist for an emergency appointment. He took a quick look at my tongue and said I had geographic tongue. He said it was no emergency and left without telling me what to do. What should I do? — A.B.

One thing you should do is get another dentist. Anyone who sincerely believes an emergency is taking place truly has an emergency. Restoring peace of mind is as important as prescribing medicine.

Geographic tongue is a tongue covered by red patches surrounded by a white rim. From one day to the next, the patches can move. Their appearance is that of a relief map — if you have a vivid imagination.