Pharmacy Care Articles
Adult Vaccinations - Are you up to date?
Vaccination is an effective way to reduce illness. By getting vaccinated, you are not just protecting yourself from becoming sick. You are also less likely to pass the illness on to others. You shield your family, friends, co-workers and anyone else with whom you have close contact. For this reason, vaccination programs work best when many people take part. It is easier and costs less to prevent disease than to treat it. By being vaccinated, you help reduce illness and lower health care costs for your community.
Adverse Drug Reactions - are your medications working the way they should?
Any medication, prescription drugs, over-the-counter (OTC) and even herbal product has the potential to cause problems. An adverse drug reaction (ADR) is any unwanted effect that comes from taking a medication. ADRs can be divided into the following categories...
After Your Heart Attack - changes and medications to prevent a repeat
As you leave the hospital after surviving your heart attack, you’re a little overwhelmed. You’ve been poked, prodded, tested and given lots of information about adopting a new, healthier lifestyle. Before you can return home and begin the next phase of your recovery, you have one last stop to make - at your local pharmacy.
Allergy Attack - recognizing and treating allergies and their symptoms
Runny nose and itchy, watery eyes? If this sounds familiar you may be one of the 10 to 20 per cent of Canadians who suffer from allergies. Symptoms and causes of an allergy may vary from person to person. It is important to determine whether this is an allergy or if it is another condition with similar signs. There are ways an allergy sufferer can control symptoms and lead an active, normal life.
Arthritis Medications - available treatment options
There are many different types of arthritis, the two most common being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Although many medications can be used to treat both types, there are differences in the treatment of each.
Inhaled Asthma Medications - how to use them
If you are like most people with asthma, you use some form of medication that is breathed into the lungs. Asthma medications are best inhaled. Breathing them in allows for fewer side effects and increases the effect compared to oral medications.
Biologics - A new form of health care technology
Inthis day and age, technology is constantly evolving. Updated cell phones, televisions, and computers continue to be released. In this same way, much time and money goes into finding new medications to improve treatment of lifelong diseases. A recent innovation involves a new family of medications — biological medical products or biologics. The role that biologics play in treating diseases is also evolving. New medications in this family continue to be approved for use. Biologics may offer new hope to those with serious health conditions.
Blood Pressure Monitoring at Home - not just for the doctor's office
High blood pressure, or hypertension, can be deadly. It is sometimes called the ‘silent killer’ because there are often no warning signs. Over time, if left untreated, high blood pressure can cause heart damage, kidney problems, and blindness that cannot be reversed. It can also lead to heart attack or stroke. The sooner high blood pressure is detected, the easier it is to reduce the damage it can do.
Blood Thinners - why they are used, how they work and why regular testing is important
One commonly prescribed medication is Coumadin™, often called an anticoagulant or ‘blood thinner.’ To understand why it’s prescribed and how it works, it helps to understand a little bit about blood and its functions.
Through Thick and Thin - New oral medications combat blood clots
Anyone who has had hip or knee surgery, an abnormal heart rhythm, or is at increased risk of stroke may benefit from blood-thinning medication.
Burns, Bugs and Boo-Boos - treating and preventing summer hazards
Every year they appear in the pharmacy – lobster-red faces flooding toward the counter, scratching themselves in strange places, seeking relief from the stinging, burning, hurting and itching. Has there been some sort of big chemical accident? No, just the first really sunny, warm weather of the year. As sun-starved Canadians, we are only too glad to trade in our sweaters and jackets for tank tops and shorts. Unfortunately, in our enthusiastic shedding of winter clothes, we often forget that summer weather also brings summer hazards such as sunburn and insect bites. Fortunately, with a little preparation, these hazards can usually be avoided.
Calcium and Iron Supplements - do you need them?
Has your doctor told you that you should take calcium for your bones? Have you ever thought about taking iron because you are tired or lacking in energy? Do you wonder if you should take Vitamin D? Why do you have to ask a pharmacist for iron?
The Changing Role of the Pharmacist - medication specialists can help in many ways
Simply put, a pharmacist is a health professional trained to prepare and dispense drugs. Although this definition is accurate, it is only part of the job description. If you have not noticed that the role of the modern pharmacist is changing, you soon will.
A common reason for a trip to a pharmacy is to find a product that will cure your cold. The problem is, there is no treatment that will cure a cold. There are only products that make you feel better.
Constipation and Hemorrhoids - the bottom line
Although we may feel reluctant to discuss them, constipation and hemorrhoids trouble many of us. These common conditions range in severity and can affect quality of life. Fortunately, they are both preventable and treatable.
Diuretics and Potassium Supplements
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, plays a major role in the development of heart disease. To combat hypertension, many drugs have been developed which help control blood pressure in various ways. Among these drugs are diuretics, whose low cost and proven effectiveness have made them a valuable treatment.
Drug Recalls and Withdrawals - a challenge for pharmacists, doctors and patients
Late on Friday afternoon, the fax machine spits out a notice from Health Canada listing a new drug recall or withdrawal. Ensuring that these are properly acted upon to protect the health of their customers is an important, and sometimes frustrating, responsibility of a pharmacist.
Drug Interactions - Ways to protect yourself
In Canada, our rapidly aging population is coupled with an increasing number of medications available to us. With more people needing and using medications, great care must be taken to ensure they are used safely. One of your pharmacist’s most important tasks is to identify and manage drug interactions. However, you must also stay involved and responsible for your own health.
Emergency Contraception - When the unexpected happens
Canadians have many options to prevent pregnancy. From birth control pills, condoms and diaphragms to surgery, methods exist to suit each person’s lifestyle and preferences. However, sometimes a method of preventing pregnancy is not used, is forgotten, or fails. At these times, women in Canada may turn to pharmacists for assistance with emergency contraception.
Erectile Dysfunction - drug treatment choices for a common problem
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a very common problem for men between the ages of 40 and 70. ED is the inability to achieve an adequate erection for sexual intercourse. Although it is a common condition, this is not a comfortable topic for many people. Fortunately, this attitude is changing as more research and studies are done to help treat ED.
Eye Protection - Protecting your eyes from ultravoiolet Rays
It’s taken years for us to realize the importance of protecting our eyes from the sun. Once we fried both skin and face at the beach without a worry. Today, we know that too much sun can lead to skin cancer. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can also damage eyes, reducing the ability to see. Cataracts may form, and the retina may also be damaged. Remember, UV light reflects off pavement, sandy beaches, snowy glaciers, and road surfaces and penetrates water. Being in the water does not protect our skin or our eyes from UV light.
Feminine Hygiene - unveiling the mysteries
At some point, it becomes necessary to venture into that mysterious sanctuary of womanhood: the feminine hygiene aisle at your local store or pharmacy. The next few pages should provide you with a guide to the variety of products available in the feminine hygiene section.
Generic or Brand Name Medications - which should you choose?
To some, generic medications are wonderful. For others, they give cause for concern. Many of us wonder about the difference between the two. With other generic products, such as soft drinks or pasta, quality can suffer. Is the same true of generic medication?
Heartburn - strategies and medications to battle the burn
If you have never had heartburn, consider yourself lucky! Many people suffer from it, with symptoms of pain or burning in the chest and a bitter taste in the mouth. Some even have a good idea of when heartburn will strike, depending on what they have eaten. What is heartburn and can anything be done to make it go away?
Heart Health - reduce fats and cholesterol in your bloodstream
Taking care of your heart is a major part of staying healthy. The fats and cholesterol in your bloodstream can harm your heart. Simple day-to-day choices about diet and physical activity can have a huge impact on your wellbeing. Many healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and dietitians, can coach you on how to make healthy choices.
Need a good night's sleep? - How to cope with insomnia
Most, if not all of us, have nights where sleep just does not come easily. If you are lucky, the problem solves itself and you can slip back into your normal routine. However, for some it is not that easy. A sleep problem can become so tiring that it affects every aspect of your life. It becomes more difficult to work or socialize. Even leisure time is not enjoyable if you cannot get the sleep you need.
Kids and Cold Medications - Young children are better off without them
Late last year, Health Canada warned that children under six should not use certain over-the-counter cough and cold medications. This came after a review of how well these products work, their safety and potential harm.
Looking after Your Skin - The role of cosmeceutical ingredients
Who doesn’t want to have a radiant, youthful glow? The quality of facial skin is perhaps the most noticeable thing about our appearance. Skin is the largest organ in the body and reflects our health and vitality. Keeping skin clean and smooth is important to many of us.
Medication Questions? - Ask your pharmacist
Are you wondering about medications you are taking? Do you understand the reasons for taking them? Medications come in various shapes, colours and strengths. You take them at different times and various ways. They may be prescribed for a number of reasons. It is no wonder many people find it difficult to keep them all in order! Fortunately, your pharmacist can help you get the most from your medications.
New Treatments, New Hope - How biological response modifiers work with your immune system
Recently a remarkable new class of medications called biological response modifiers has been added to the world of medicine. These medications modify the way the body’s immune (defence) system responds to threats to health. The new drugs can treat a wide range of conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and some cancers. The brand names Enbrel™, Remicade™, Humira™, and Betaseron™ may be familiar to you. There are many others.
What if there was a pill you could take to relieve all your aches and pains, improve your memory and make you feel 20 years younger? On top of those benefits, it offered no bad effects? You may believe that natural medicines such as herbs fit the bill (or the pill!) perfectly, but it is important to realize they, like ALL medicines, have their limitations and risks.
Over-the-Counter Medication - Why must I ask for that?
Millions of Canadians visit pharmacies each year to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) remedies. These products can help treat a wide range of minor complaints, and no prescription is necessary to buy them. Many are available on drug store shelves. Some can even be purchased in your local corner store or gas station. However, a few are kept behind the counter and can only be bought after talking with the pharmacist. Why is it necessary to ask for these medications?
Using OTC Medication during Pregnancy - Making informed decisions keeps your baby safe
Along with the joy and excitement of being pregnant come discomforts and complaints. Pregnant women use over-the-counter (OTC) medication to cope with problems more often than prescription drugs. OTC drugs are easy to buy. Since they are available without prescription, they may not seem like medication. Herbal products, being ‘natural,’ may also appear harmless. Even medicated creams can get into the mother’s bloodstream. All of these are medications. While many products are safe during pregnancy, some are not.
NSAIDS - Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, known as NSAIDs, are a group of drugs similar to Aspirin™ and aspirin-like drugs. They reduce fever and inflammation, and relieve pain. These drugs are used most often to relieve the inflammation, swelling, stiffness and joint pain of arthritis. They can also help provide relief from inflammation of other painful conditions.
Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers - Choosing the right one
At the pharmacy, all the choices staring at you from the shelves may seem baffling. Relax. You are choosing between four main types of OTC pain relief medication.
Pharmaceutical Studies - Using science to make decisions about medications
It seems like every day, a miracle drug or a newly discovered side effect of an existing one makes news. Given the rapid pace at which medicine is progressing, combined with advances in communication, this is not at all surprising. Whether in the paper, a magazine, a television program, online or by word of mouth, there is never a shortage of new health information. But with so much coming out all the time, how do you know what to believe?
Plan B Emergency Contraception... a back up plan
In April 2005, Health Canada allowed pharmacists to dispense the Plan Bª emergency contraceptive pill without a doctor's prescription. Previously it was only available by prescription. Many women are now asking their pharmacists and doctors about how it works and when it should be used.
Quitting Smoking - it's challenging, but help is available
If you have tried to quit smoking and been unsuccessful, take heart! Most smokers attempt to quit smoking several times before finally quitting. Past failures do not mean that you are unable to quit. Instead, they are part of the normal journey towards becoming a non-smoker.
Research Studies - What you should know – how you can help
Have you ever wondered how medications become available for use in Canada? Or how your doctor decides which treatment and dose is best for you? How does the pharmacist know about all those side effects? The answer is quite simple – research.
Sports Supplements - can they improve athletic performance?
Carbohydrates or protein? Water or Gatorade™? When it comes to sports, questions like these ones are common, as the trend towards healthy living become more popular. We are more aware of the benefits of an active lifestyle. At the same time, we have become overwhelmed with the variety of products, fad diets and media advice. Proper nutrition, fluid replacement and occasional supplements remain key to improving athletic performance.
Safe Travel Prescription - checking off your healthcare travel list
Traveling can be wonderful, especially if you plan ahead carefully. Whether traveling within North America or abroad, keep in mind the kind of trip you are taking and what you may need along the way. Special attention is often required when planning for health care and medication, especially if you have a serious medical condition. For instance, those with diabetes require a much more detailed game plan for travel. Regardless of medical conditions, planning ahead is often the key to a successful trip!
Sunscreen - an ounce of prevention
A bright sunny day can lift your spirits and fill you with enthusiasm for getting outside to enjoy it. However, staying in the sun without proper protection can have long-term harmful effects on your skin. Covering up and seeking shade are the best ways to avoid the sun's harmful rays. However, when you can't, sunscreens and sunblocks offer protection. It is important to know which to choose and how to use them correctly.
Cold Sores - help for a common problem
Cold sores can be both painful and embarrassing. Each year, an estimated seven per cent of people in North America experience two or more outbreaks. Besides being physically painful, cold sores affect how we feel about how we look.
Using Antibiotics Wisely - follow the rules to avoid antibiotic resistance
At one time, antibiotics were considered "wonder drugs." These medicines are used to treat specific infections caused by bacteria. They work by either killing the bacteria or stopping more from growing. Antibiotics have been used for decades to effectively treat a variety of bacterial infections. Left untreated, many bacterial infections can be deadly. Antibiotics cannot cure infections caused by viruses.
Take as Directed - Why is this so important?
Many people have forgotten to take medication on time or found directions too complicated to follow. Some stop treatment as soon as they feel better. Others decide not to take prescribed medications because they feel they do not really need them. Why is it important to take medication as directed?
Taking Medication - Tips and tricks for taking it
Do you have trouble remembering to take your medications? Do you have trouble swallowing pills? Are you unsure of whether to take your medications with food or on an empty stomach? If you have had doubts or problems about taking your pills, here are some helpful hints.
Treating Obesity - is medication the answer?
If you struggle with weight issues, you are not alone. Obesity, or being seriously overweight, is an increasing concern in Canada. This disease is a leading cause of preventable illness and death in North America. In the last 10 years, the number of overweight people grew so much that the World Health Organization is calling obesity an “epidemic.” As with many other diseases, lifestyle changes can help in managing obesity.
Viagra - Questions, answers and facts
Viagra™ (sildenafil) may be the most talked-about drug in the history of modern medicine! Its release in Canada was preceded by media hype, talk show banter, internet jokes and folklore.
The Latest Word on Vitamin D - Many Canadians need more
In the past few years, many claims have been made about vitamin D. More recently, there has been some observational evidence that vitamin D supplementation lowers the risk of breast and colorectal cancer. Although various health agencies have made guidelines on vitamin D, the recommended amounts vary. Should everyone take supplements? If so, how much? Understanding current recommendations and how this vitamin works in your body can help you to decide for yourself.
What Can Your Pharmacist Do For You? The expanding role of community pharmacies
When you think of a pharmacist, what comes to mind? Do you envision a tray with identical small white pills, and a hand with a spatula grouping them in fives? While traditional dispensing is still important, the pharmacist’s role is expanding. Recent changes to legislation allow pharmacists to provide some patient care and additional services. This is making it easier for Canadians to access health care.
When Your Child is Sick - Products and Remedies That Can Help
With thousands of over-the-counter (OTC) products on the market it can be challenging for parents to choose the ‘best’ therapy for their children. What do you do? Most parents would answer, “Ask your pharmacist.” Great! But if you have three screaming children you may not have time to wait in line. Furthermore, are you sure it’s not serious? Can you make an appointent with your family doctor? What do you do in the middle of the night when pharmacies and doctors’ offices are closed? Visiting the hospital emergency room isn’t always appropriate for minor problems. Some areas have 24-hour health information lines staffed by nurses that parents can call. Check with your local community health centre. First, try some of the following measures.
Your Best Shot - Keep current, stay healthy
Vaccinations are often a hot topic in the media. Many people wonder about the benefits of vaccination, when boosters are needed, and possible risks. Research tells us vaccines have definitely reduced the number of cases of certain infectious diseases. Some diseases (like smallpox) have even been eliminated. Although we may think vaccination is only for children, they also protect the health of adults.