Ask the Pharmacist

Ask the Pharmacist

It’s live! I am very proud to announce that the “Ask the Pharmacist” app is live!

 

Visit the website

www.askthepharmacist.com.au

 

A lot of hard work has gone in to this.
Thank you Ollie Cloud Concepts Australia Pty Ltd.
Please save the app to your phone home screen or desktop to use when you need it and ask away. I will answer any question that you would ask a Pharmacist, which is pretty much anything!
I would also be very grateful if you could share this.
I welcome any feedback you have.
Thank you!

Novel coronavirus

Novel coronavirus

Coronavirus is a word that we have all heard mentioned lately.

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can make us sick (animals too).  Some coronaviruses cause mild illness, like the common cold, and others can make people very sick like SARS did several years ago.

A novel coronavirus is a new virus which means that it has not been seen before this outbreak occurred.

Why is a new virus bad?

New viruses can affect more people as no one has immunity to them.

Viruses are present in our communities all the time and because we have some exposure to them our immune system can build up some immunity to them so that we don’t get as sick and we recover faster. There is no vaccination for a virus that is new and there is no immunity to it present in our immune systems.

Is it likely that I will catch novel coronavirus?

Unless you have been to China this year or have come in to close contact with someone who has it is very unlikely that you will catch it.

How is novel coronavirus spread?

As with other viral illnesses it is spread by an infected person coughing or sneezing on someone else or on a surface that is touched by someone else.

How can I avoid catching coronavirus?

It is always important to have good hygiene to prevent the spread of this and other illnesses.  This includes washing hands well with soap and water and coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow if you don’t have a tissue.

Can novel coronavirus be treated?

There is no treatment for this.  Antibiotics do not work on viruses.

For more information visit the Australian Government Department of Health website

https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov

Take pain medications regularly

Take pain medications regularly

Once again this is a current topic in our house.  Shattered collar bones cause a lot of pain.  From my experience when someone is in a lot of pain and leaves hospital or the Doctor’s surgery with multiple prescriptions and instructions it can become confusing and overwhelming to know what to take and when.

As my partner explained to me his pain management previously meant taking tablets when the pain got too much to bear and suffering in silence was ok (and a manly thing to do).  The most important aspect of treating pain is to take the pain medication regularly as prescribed.

 

Take pain medication regularly

In most situations pain medications are best taken regularly.  If you have an injury, ongoing pain or have had surgery and have been prescribed medications that state that they should be taken two, three or four times a day then you should take them as stated.  The reason for this is that pain is relieved best when the medicine stays at a certain level in your body and this occurs when it is taken at regular intervals.  If pain medication is not taken regularly and pain occurs or worsens it is more difficult to bring it under control.

Often more than one medication is needed to manage pain.  The different medications may need to be taken at different times or the same times.

Do not take any extra pain relief without consulting your Doctor or Pharmacist as over the counter medications may affect what you have been prescribed or your other prescription medications.

 

 

 

R.U.M.

R.U.M.

R.U.M.

(Return Unwanted Medicines , not the drink)

 

Do you know what to do with medicines you don’t want anymore?

The RUM project is a way for medicines that are either out of date or not needed anymore to be disposed of safely.  Community Pharmacies have RUM bins that all returned medicines are placed in to for safe destruction.  This means that any medicines you have that you don’t want anymore should be returned to a Pharmacy where they will be disposed of into the RUM bin.  The bins are collected when full and incinerated.

Sharps and blood testing strips can not be taken to a Pharmacy for disposal.

 

Why can’t I flush unwanted medicines or throw them in the bin?

Medicines that end up in landfill or our water ways can be ingested by our sea life.  There are measurable amounts of medicines in Sydney Harbour!  Our sea life will be adversely affected by this and ultimately so will we.  We don’t want to be taking in medicines through our food and water.

There is also a risk of medicines being taken by children from the garbage that can lead to poisoning.

 

Can I still take a medicine if it is out of date?

If you take a medicine that is out of date there are two likely outcomes.  The first is that nothing will happen as the medicine has lost its effectiveness through breaking down into another form and will not work.  The second is more dangerous as the medicine may have started to breakdown into a dangerous form which could be harmful.  For these reasons you should never take an out of date medicine and you should check the expiry dates on medicines in your cupboard so that you can take any that are out of date to a Pharmacy to be disposed of.

Changes to treatment of reflux

Changes to treatment of reflux

If you are someone who takes prescribed medicine for reflux you are likely to be aware of changes that came in to effect in May with respect to what Doctor’s are able to prescribe.  Lower doses or shorter lengths of treatment are recommended where possible.

 

PPI overuse

In Australia and in other countries Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI) are known to be prescribed too often and used for too long without people having their treatment reviewed.  They are the second most commonly used type of medicine.  These medicines are very helpful for people suffering with symptoms of reflux but they can have side effects.  Some of these medicines are available over the counter as well as on prescription.

 

PPI side effects

  • Deficiencies in vitamin B12, calcium and magnesium
  • Kidney damage
  • Increased risk of osteoporotic fractures
  • Pneumonia
  • Gastric cancer
  • Dementia

This list is scary and serious side effects are rare but can occur and that is why it is important that treatment is reviewed.

 

Treatment review

Rather than people staying on the same dose of their PPI indefinitely it is recommended that, if they do not have symptoms, the dose is reduced with the aim of taking a lower dose of the medicine or being able to stop it altogether and just use it on an as needed basis.

If symptoms of reflux are occurring while a PPI is being used then these people will usually need to be seen by a specialist.

 

Ways to reduce reflux

  • Avoid or limit foods that cause reflux such as spicy/fatty foods, tea, coffee, alcohol
  • Avoid meals that are large and do not lit down after eating
  • Stop smoking
  • Limit the use of anti-inflammatories
  • Discuss with your Pharmacist or Doctor the possibility of other prescription medicines causing reflux