Thursday, July 16, 2009
Tylenol is safe taken as directed
By Dr. Anthony Policastro

There has been a lot in the news recently about the safety of Tylenol. The generic name for Tylenol is acetaminophen. The issue is really not with Tylenol itself. There are many drugs that contain acetaminophen besides Tylenol. These include Percocet, Darvocet, Ultracet and Nyquil. When people get sick, they tend to take medications that they think will help them. Unfortunately, they do not always read the labels. Someone who takes Tylenol for a headache and Nyquil for a cold is getting a double dose of acetaminophen. The FDA's main concern is people mixing medications. It is much better to take a preparation with a single drug in it. Once you begin taking combinations, it can create issues for things other than acetaminophen. Another problem is the frequency of dosing. Acetaminophen is listed as an every four hour drug and the maximum daily dose is 4,000 mg per day. If you take two regular strength tablets, that is about 650 mg per day. If you take it exactly every four hours that would be six doses per day. Six times 650 comes out to just about 3,900 mg per day, which is within the daily dosage limit. However, if you take extra strength tablets, the dose is 1,000 mg per dose. If you take these every four hours, you would take 6,000 mg per day - over the daily dosage limit. For children, the recommendation is that you should give acetaminophen every four hours but not more than five times a day. High dosages of acetaminophen causes liver problems. Many people choose acetaminophen to overdose on when they attempt suicide because they think the drug won't cause pain. Unfortunately, many of them go into liver failure because it does not do what they think it will. Like all medication acetaminophen must be respected. It remains safe in the proper doses. Make sure you read the label, follow dosage instructions and don't mix it with other medications.

Hospital to donate bike helmets

Kent County Tourism has partnered with Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington in conjunction with the 23rd Amish Country Bike Tour's "Give A Child A Bike" campaign. The duPont Hospital's Trauma Program will provide a helmet for every bike donated this year. "If you have a used bicycle or a scooter in your garage that is no longer ridden, as long as it is in good condition, we can find a child that will put it to good use," said Robin Coventry, director of public affairs and special events. "New bikes can also be purchased for under $100 and donated." Statewide businesses can become sponsors or partners. To donate a bike, contact Kent County Tourism at 302-734-4888. The 23rd Amish Country Bike Tour and Pedal Away Prostate Race is Sept. 12 on Legislative Mall in Dover. For more information or to register, visit Kent County Tourism is working with the Boys and Girls Club in Delaware to locate children that need bicycles.

Law to help health insurance costs Premiums insurance companies charge Delawareans for medical coverage will now receive the same scrutiny from state regulators as auto, homeowners and workers compensation policies. Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 35, which Gov. Jack Markell signed into law earlier this week, gives Delaware's Insurance Department the authority to regulate health insurance premiums. The department now has the authority to ultimately reject proposed premium increases if the company cannot justify the hike in rates. "This law will protect Delawareans who are already being squeezed by rising insurance costs," Markell said. "While the federal government continues working on how to reform the nation's health care system, we can take concrete actions in Delaware to hold down costs and make insurance more affordable."

Grants help uninsured residents States will be able to access $40 million of the allotted $100 million in federal grants to expand enrollment in State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and Medicaid, as authorized by the SCHIP expansion signed into law earlier this year. The newly released funds will help bring awareness to those who qualify for government insurance programs, yet are not enrolled. There are over 20,000 cases in Delaware alone, and as many as 12 million throughout the nation. "Delaware is able to apply for this funding to address our enrollment shortfalls and further reduce the number of uninsured in our communities." Rep Castle said. "As Congress begins to debate health care reform, we can't overlook federal programs that are already in place. This step by HHS will hopefully enable Delaware to cover more of the children who qualify for assistance." The program will be administered by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). For more information, visit

Depression Support Group There will be a free bimonthly Depression Support Group meeting in Laurel on the second and fourth Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Any person who has signs and symptoms of depression and is under the care of a professional counselor/MD is welcome to attend. To register, call Life Matters Counseling and Consulting at 302-465-6612.

CHEER hosts free workshop Many adults face the challenge of managing one - and often several - chronic medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, hearing problems and depression. The Chronic Disease Self Management Program (CDSMP), developed at Stanford University, has proven extremely effective at enabling people to take more control of their own health. This program can give adults a sense of control over their lives, improve their day-to-day functioning, and help save on medical bills. This program will begin at the CHEER Community Center on Wednesday, Aug. 5 and it ends Wednesday, Sept. 9. The program consists of 6 - 2 hour workshops which will be held from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Registration is required. For more information and to register, call Cindy Mitchell at 856-5187.

Family Caregiver training The Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter sponsors The Family Caregiver Education Series four times a year in each of Delaware's three counties. Renaissance HealthCare Center in Millsboro will host the training on Wednesday, July 22, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. This training for family caregivers is free and lunch will be provided by Renaissance HealthCare Center, therefore pre-registration is required by July 17. For more information or to register, call Jamie Magee, branch office coordinator, at 302-854-9788.

DGS converts to electronic records Delaware Guidance Services for Children and Youth, Inc. (DGS) is the recipient of a $2,200 Delaware Community Foundation Capital Grant that will be used to purchase computers for the organization's conversion to electronic medical records. DGS is in the process of purchasing and implementing the new clinical software system from Sequest Technologies, the leading provider of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software solutions for behavioral health organizations. Sequest will connect all five DGS offices across the state electronically, enabling the organization to operate more efficiently and function almost completely without paper. DGS is the largest not-for-profit provider of mental health services for children and youth in the state. Every year, the agency serves approximately 10,000 children and their families, regardless of their ability to pay, at locations in Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Lewes and Seaford.