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Mind Your Ps and Qs

By Karen Kier, Pharmacist on behalf of the ONU HealthWise team

There is a debate about the origin of “mind your Ps and Qs.”  Some believe it started with a 17th century play by Thomas Dekker titled The Untrussing of the Humorous Poet. Others believe it was used in British pubs to tally consumption of drinks where the P is for pints and Q is for quarts. It could have been advice to typesetters to make sure that lower case Ps and Qs did not get mixed up. The expression means to be on your best behavior or to mind your manners. The British sometimes use it to remind children to say please and thank you.  

Some may have seen the video of Christopher Key during his courtroom appearance for not wearing his mask. He has dubbed himself the “Vaccine Police.” During the outcry, he proclaimed the prevention and cure for COVID-19 and it is drinking your own urine. Hence, the P or pee. He assures his followers that he has been drinking his own pee for years and it is supported by research. Reuters Fact Check has verified this is absolutely false. There is no evidence or research indicating any value in drinking one’s urine for COVID. The kidneys remove waste from the body that ends up in urine so, you would be drinking the trash your body has taken out.  Dr. Jon Klein is a physician and kidney specialist at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and he recently tweeted, “I’ve studied how the kidneys make urine for 39 years. Do not, I repeat do not, drink urine to treat COVID. That is all.”  Wise words!  

Drinking urine is one more in the list of COVID-19 treatments that are on social media that can be dangerous with no benefit. Other risky treatments include injecting bleach, inhaling or swallowing colloidal silver, taking hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin. There is no evidence of benefit for these treatments in COVID-19 and the risk of side effects can be high. Evidence is based on the scientific method of controlled clinical trials where we compare new treatments to other treatments or no medication, known as a placebo. Science should help drive the treatment options that provide the most benefit to an individual and to society. High quality science provides the Q. I applaud the science teachers in our schools who are training our next generation to understand the importance of science and the scientific method. Many schools in the area will be having their science fairs in 2022 where students can look at a problem, make a hypothesis, run the experiment, record what happened and then draw logical conclusions from the data. I look forward to judging some of these projects very soon. One of my favorite judging questions is to ask the student to tell me how their experiment applies to the real world.  

One social media claim has been taken out of context, but actually has some clinical trial evidence that is worthy of discussion. A United Kingdom nurse claims to be cured with sildenafil (ViagraTM) of COVID-19 pneumonia after being in a coma. This has been misrepresented on social media and Fox News reporter Tucker Carlson had the statement “Little Blue Miracle” on his show behind his head to propagate inaccurate information. The nurse did receive sildenafil as part of an investigational study. In the lungs, SARS-CoV-2 reduces nitric oxide and is believed to be a mechanism by which COVID pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome can cause illness and death. Sildenafil has been evaluated because it increases nitric oxide in the lungs with the theory of reversing the damage caused by the virus. This is based on the FDA-approved indication of sildenafil (Revatio®) to manage patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) with decreased lung function. Studies have proven that sildenafil can improve the quality of life of patients with PAH. Another Q for quality. Based on the theory, a study involving 40 patients with severe lung disease from COVID-19 and abnormal blood flow to the lungs was performed in Chile. Twenty patients received sildenafil compared to 20 patients who were given a placebo (e.g. scientific method). The researchers reported that there was no change in oxygen patterns or lung blood flow, but the risk of mechanical ventilation was lower and the sildenafil group had shorter hospital stays. The authors concluded that larger studies need to confirm the results. The nurse was part of a larger study. Sildenafil does not prevent or treat mild or moderate COVID-19, but is being investigated in severe lung disease caused by COVID-19.  Do not take ViagraTM for COVID-19 because it is not the blue pill miracle for outpatient therapy. Sildenafil has serious side effects and significant drug-drug interactions so talk to a healthcare professional.  

Mind your Ps and Qs!

Feel free to call the ONU HealthWise Pharmacy at 419-772-3784 for the science on COVID-19. ONU HealthWise is offering COVID-19 and flu vaccines Monday through Friday from 4-6:00 p.m. Call the pharmacy for an appointment for other time slots. The ONU HealthWise pharmacy offers Moderna, Pfizer, and Janssen and flu shots and high-dose flu vaccines. Pediatric Pfizer vaccines (5 to 11-years) are available by appointment through the state Vaccine Management Solution (VMS) system