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Opioids: Painkillers and Possible Addiction

Opioids or sometimes called narcotics, are a type of drug used to treat persistent or severe pain. For instance, chronic headaches and chronic pain.

Usually doctors will prescribe this medication if other pain reliever medicines fail to work.

Additionally, those who are seriously injured due to accidents, or any adverse incidents may be prescribed with this drug.

How Opioids Act

The drug acts by binding to specific opioid receptors located in the brain, spinal cord, gut and others. 

When a person feels pain, the pain signals are sent from the body through the spinal cord and lastly to the brain. 

Opioids will block the pain signals from transferring to the brain.

To emphasize, this drug has primary use of relieving intense pain

Potential Side Effects

When you take opioids, you might experience some side effects, such as:

  • Sleepiness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea

In comparison to its beneficial effects, this drug also carries risks and can be highly addictive. 

It happens if you use the drug wrongly. Especially, when it is taken more than prescribed. 

Over time, you will develop tolerance to the usual dose.

Consequently, you will need an even higher dose to relieve the pain. 

This in turn can turn to addiction. To simplify, the drug can make your brain and body believe that it must be taken and necessary for survival.

How To Use Opioids Safely To Manage Pain

Here are some tips to take the drug safely!

  • Talk to your physician or anesthesiologist: Consider another alternative that does not cause addiction such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or acupuncture. But if opioids remain the best option, ask how to minimize risk and side effects.
  • Take opioids only as directed: Follow what your physician says, and make sure you read the label of the prescription. Additionally, if you are on other medications, ask your physician whether it is also safe to take opioids together.
  • Watch out for side effects: Ask the physician about the side effects you should be aware of and what can you do to prevent potential problems.

We at Mayflax also provide non-steroidal inflammatory drugs, an alternative to opioids. If you want to find out more about our services, you can click here.

REFERENCES

Nanotechnology as a drug delivery in Cancer Treatment

Picture of nanotechnology cancer

Nanotechnology as a drug delivery in Cancer Treatment

What is Cancer ?

     Cancer is a leading cause of death and remains a difficult disease to treat. It was estimated that there would be 18.1 million new cancer cases and 9.6 million cancer-related deaths by 2018 (Global cancer statistics 2018). Besides, cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled cell proliferation that spreads to other parts of the organs to cause death. Moreover, cancers can be either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Benign means tend to grow slowly and do not spread to other organs meanwhile malignant can grow rapidly, invade and destroy nearby healthy tissues, and spread to whole parts of the body.  Therefore, current technology as nanotechnology are being used to treat cancer.

Picture of cancer

How Does Nanotechnology as a Drug Delivery?

A nanotechnology is a great tool in the fight against cancer. It is safer and more precise. This application has led to several promising results in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Not only that, it includes drug delivery, gene therapy, detection and diagnosis, drug carriage, biomarker mapping, targeted therapy, and molecular imaging.

The nanotechnology cancer treatments work to destroy cancer tumors with minimal damage to healthy tissue and organs, as well as the detection and elimination of cancer cells before they form tumors.

Picture of nanotechnology cancer

However, nanotechnology diagnoses and treats disease at a very tiny scale. Frankly, the particles are 100 to 10,000 times smaller than human cells. Because of their small size, they can locate and kill cancer more precisely than current cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy. However, many drugs are insoluble, so it difficult to administer. These compounds can be “solubilize” by combining them with organic or lipid nanoparticles, which keep them in circulation for longer periods, or by forming them into crystalline Nano suspensions stabilized by surfactants.

Nanotechnology treatments, for instance, the development of nanoscale drug delivery, can ensure precise cancerous tissue targeting with low side effects. Thus, it can easily cross the cell barrier due to its biological nature.

The tiny size of nanoparticles allows them to deliver medicines into which areas of the part of the human body that be hard to reach. For instance, the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier prevents foreign substances from entering into the brain and also prevents some medications from being absorbed. As a result of their small size, nanoparticles can pass through this barrier, making them a useful treatment for brain cancer.

Nanotechnology Tools Used in Cancer Diagnosis

Nanotechnology can validate cancer imaging at the tissue, cell, and molecular levels, according to current research. Its use in the development of nanomaterials, which include the following:

  1. Near Infrared (NIR) Quantum Dots
  2. Nanoshells
  3. Colloidal Gold Nanoparticles

Is Nanotechnology Now in Use?

Nanotechnology has been used for more than a decade by doctors to treat cancer. For instance,  abraxane and doxil, aid in the efficacy of chemotherapy drugs.

Abraxane is a nanoparticle made of the protein albumin and the chemotherapy drug docetaxel. It inhibits the division of cancer cells. Furthermore, this medication to treat breast cancer and pancreatic cancer that already spread to other parts of the body and non-small-cell lung cancer.

Doxil known as doxorubicin will wrap in a liposome, which is a fatty sac. It disrupts cancer genes, preventing cancer cells from dividing. This drug use to treat cancers of the ovary, multiple myeloma, and Kaposi’s sarcoma.

Does Nanotechnology for Cancer Have Side Effects?

Nanotechnology more precisely targets cancer cells while sparing healthy tissues. However, nanotechnology drugs may have fewer side effects than chemotherapy and radiation therapy. In the case of nanotechnology-based treatments, abraxane and doxil do cause side effects which are weight loss, nausea, and diarrhea.

References:

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                ABOUT THE AUTHOR  

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Raihan Ridzuan

Raihan Ridzuan, Bachelor of Science (Hons) Pharmacology, is Customer Relationship Executive  of Mayflax, one of the nation’s leading healthcare and marketing company

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COVID-19: Can vitamin C help boost your immune system?

COVID-19

COVID-19: Can vitamin C help boost your immune system?

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It happened in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and spread globally, resulting in an ongoing pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization.

Thus, it continued to spread and a vaccine is urgent for immunization and a cure. Meanwhile, waiting for the production of vaccine done, taking precautions action is considered the best approach.

This disease is asymptomatic and the severity of covid-19 may lead to severe respiratory tract infections and become deadly.

Furthermore, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these factors related to immunity such as age and underlying conditions determine the risk of infection.

Therefore, individuals who are at higher risk of having covid-19 complications is a person that having a pre-existing illness like type 2 diabetes, liver disease, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory issues.

It also increases with age as the general immunity reduces when you getting older.

Besides, immune factors play a major role to protect our bodies, with this variety factor which indicates the influence the severity of the disease.

Does Vitamin C help boost your immunity and keep you from COVID-19-free?

Not exactly!  It strengthens your immune system, but there is no concrete evidence that it can treat or prevent the disease caused by a SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, our body still needs vitamins to boost the immune system

Similarly, no evidence said that vitamin C supplements can help to prevent COVID-19, “Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee, told New York Times Parenting”.

“If there’s going to be an advantage, it’s going to be very modest,” Schaffner said.

Picture of Vitamin C

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that has immune-boosting micronutrients and it is relatively easy to get such as can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Hence, low vitamin C levels are also resulting in many health problems such as poor immunity, bleeding gums, and tooth loss.

Since your body cannot produce vitamin C, it’s important to include essential nutrients in your daily diet.

Humans cannot produce vitamin C on their own, because they don’t have the specific enzyme needed. Hence, we need to get it from an exogenous source which is food that includes essential nutrients in daily diet.

In addition, vitamin C plays a role in maintaining the immune system comprehensively through its antioxidant ability to protects against damage induced by oxidative stress, collagen synthesis, or directly strengthens immune cells in the fight against infection.

 It also helps prevent the common cold.

However, you can purchase the vitamin C supplement at the pharmaceutical wholesaler if you want in a bulk quantity such as mayflax

How much your body need Vitamin C per day?

The recommended daily dosage of vitamin C follow by age and gender. As per the National Institutes of Health, the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for vitamin C are as follows:

AgeMaleFemalePregnancyLactation
0–6 months40 mg40 mg
7–12 months50 mg50 mg
1–3 years15 mg15 mg
4–8 years25 mg25 mg
9–13 years45 mg45 mg
14–18 years75 mg65 mg80 mg115 mg
19+ years90 mg75 mg85 mg120 mg

Note: Individuals who smoke need more doses than non-smokers needed, which is add 35 mg per day.

Here, have five clinical stages of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) :

Table of Stages Covid-19

Figure 1: Covid-19 treatment stratification in a Malaysian public hospital setting.

Can we consume vitamin C too much ?

Vitamin C is water-soluble, meaning it absorbs and passes through your body faster. Besides that, vitamin C is eliminated when you urinate.

Taking more than 2000 milligrams per day of vitamin C can lead to unpleasant side effects such as:-

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Headache
  • Insomnia

Other food sources that are high in Vitamin C

Foods rich in vitamin C include :-

  • Oranges and orange juice
  • Grapefruits
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwis
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Red and green peppers
  • Potatoes

Immune booster to maintain body health

 There are 6 immune boosters to help you to maintain a healthy body other than vitamin C :-

Vitamin A (Beta Carotene): This vitamin helps the health of your intestines and respiratory system. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, sweet potato, spinach, broccoli, and red bell peppers, egg yolk, butter, milk, cheese, etc.

Picture of carrots

Vitamin E: Vitamin E can be a cancer prevention agent preventing cells from oxidative harm from free radicals. These nutrients also can neutralization of free radicals by working as an antioxidant such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and avocado.

Picture of avocado

Zinc: There are many zinc-dependent enzymes in our body and their deficiency is associated with immune dysfunction. Zinc-rich foods such as beans, seeds, nuts, meat, poultry, some shellfish, legumes, whole grains, and fortified cereals.

Picture of shellfish

Selenium: Selenium is another body’s antioxidant system, that ensures the body against oxidative pressure. It a mineral that helps certain immune cells function at their best. For examples, seafood, meat, whole grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables.

Picture of whole grains

Probiotics: The function of probiotics to helps the gut to become a healthy gut because it is made up of good bacteria that help keep your body healthy and working well. Moreover, not only that, probiotics can contribute to immune function.

Picture of healthy gut

Protein: Specific amino acids can be found in protein. There are essential for T-cell function, which are cells that protect the body from pathogens. For instance, meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, nuts, and all seeds which contain a lot of protein.

Picture of ham

These nutrients are proven to help your body’s immune system function most efficiently and effectively, but if you eat too much, it can be harmful.  Thus, eat these nutrients in moderation and do not overeat.

Can taking vitamin C help to prevent COVID-19?

Frankly, without a vaccine, it is important to find ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Again, there are many things about this virus that we still do not know because viruses keep changes through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear. 

Right now, vitamin C is one of the few vitamins that your body needs to do its best. Getting enough vitamins and nutrients in your diet can help in strengthening your immune system, which also can possibly help you prevent this virus.

There is nothing wrong with taking vitamin C as part of your COVID-19 prevention plan, but no evidence it is true! There is a lot of ongoing research with positive results on the use of vitamin C as a treatment.

However, there is not enough information and evidence to know for sure whether it is effective against COVID-19.

Ways to prevent COVID-19

Furthermore,  have other ways can help to prevent the covid-19 spread. Now, you can follow easy tips to add to your “new normal” as a daily routine :-

Diagram How to avoid covid
  1. Wash your hands for 20 seconds.
  2. Apply hand sanitizer
  3. Wear a mask
  4. Social Distance
  5. Stay at home
  6. Disinfect or sanitize all the things
  7. Try not to touch your face or mouth.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Raihan Ridzuan

Raihan Ridzuan , Bachelor of Science (Hons) Pharmacology, is  Customer Relationship Executive of Mayflax , one of the nation’s leading healthcare and marketing company.

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