National Pharmacist Month

October 1, 2014

 

Phil in Pharmacy

Phil, Pharmacy Manager

Know your medicine, know your pharmacist

How have pharmacists at Harmons helped you or a family member?

October is recognized as pharmacist month. The theme of American Pharmacist Month is “Know your medicine, Know your pharmacist.” The objectives for this month are:

  • To recognize the vital contributions made by pharmacists to health care in the United States.
  • To enhance the image of pharmacists as the medication experts and an integral part of the health care team, not just dispensers of medication.
  • To educate the public, policy makers, pharmacists, and other health care professionals about the key role played by pharmacists in reducing overall health care costs by improved medication use and advanced patient care.
  • To stress the importance of Knowing Your Medicine and Knowing Your Pharmacist to ensure drug therapy is as safe and effective as possible.

Pharmacists at Harmons are committed to improving your health. Counseling every patient about their medications is a priority to us. We invite you to know your medicine by knowing your Harmons pharmacist.

 

Hydrocodone Will Be More Controlled

August 22, 2014
RxThe Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced today that hydrocodone prescriptions will become more controlled across the country.  This will happen in 45
days from August 22, 2014.  It is currently a schedule 3 medication that allows a patient to have up to 5 refills and the prescription will expire in 6 months.  The prescription can also be phoned, faxed, or written.  
 
This change will make hydrocodone prescriptions expire in 1 month and won’t allow refills.  However, the prescriber can give you up to 3 months by giving you 3 separate prescriptions with 2 of them post dated.  The change will also not allow the prescriber to call or fax the prescription, it will have to be hand written.  This is another step the DEA is taking to help prevent abuse and overdoses.  For more information you can contact your local Harmons pharmacist.  Click here for more information from the DEA.

Timing of Heartburn Medications

June 13, 2014

A study published this month in The American Journal of Gastroenterology found that most patients are not taking their heartburn medications correctly.  The study compared patients who purchased heartburn medications like Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec.  It showed that 39% of Chest painpatients took the medication correctly when purchased over the counter, 47% with a prescription from their primary care physician, and 71% with a prescription from a specialist.

If the patients would have purchased them from us, I’m sure the percentage of patients knowing how to take their medication would be higher.  Our pharmacists are here to educate you on your medications.  Nexium is now over the counter too.  If you purchase over the counter medications feel free to ask your pharmacist questions.  

If you don’t take this medication correctly it won’t work as well and you’ll be wasting your money.  It is important to take this type of heartburn medication a half hour before you eat.  Most patients take this in the morning before breakfast.  

Also, if you take these medications as needed, it won’t work as well since it takes about 3 to 7 days to start working.  It is best to think of these acid reducers as preventative that need to be used daily.  If you are experiencing heartburn, Tums or Rolaids can treat your heartburn.   

For more information about the study you can visit www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_146760.html.

 

New Medications to Help Lower Blood Sugar

May 28, 2014

You may have heard about some new medications to help treat Type 2 Diabetes – Invokana® and Farxiga®. These medications are the newest addition to treatment of Type 2 Diabetes and are unique in their action inside the body. These medications work by taking glucose (sugar) out of the blood and into the urine for excretion. Here are a few things to remember about Invokana and Farxiga:

  • For those patients who feel like they have tried just about everything without success, this is a NEW way of treating Type 2 Diabetes – there are no other medications on the marketBloodSugar like this.
  • Invokana and Farxiga have only been studied in combination with other medications like Metformin, Glyburide, Insulin, and Januvia. It is recommended that these medications be used as an add-on to current treatment therapy, which would include diet and exercise.
  • If you qualify, both Invokana and Farxiga offer a savings coupon that can SIGNIFICANTLY reduce your copay. These are available at invokanacarepath.com and farxigasavingsrx.com.
  • Invokana offers a coupon that pays up to $325 of your copay per month providing a $0 copay (FREE) 30 day supply for the first FOUR months, and as low as a $5 copay permonth on the next eight fills.
  • Farxiga offers a coupon that pays up to $346 of your copay per month providing a $0 copay (FREE) 30 day supply for the first THREE months, and as low as a $10 copay per month on the next eight fills.

Consult with your doctor to determine if either of these medications would be a good option in your treatment of Type 2 Diabetes.

May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

May 13, 2014

Little Girl with the FluThis month is often the worst month of the year for asthma and allergies.  The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has a lot of information and resources on their website at www.aafa.org.  There is a link on their site to check the pollen counts for the day and you can see how challenging it is to live in your city with asthma and allergies.  The comparisons of cities for allergies can be found at www.aafa.org/pdfs/FINAL_public_LIST_Spring_2014.pdf.

It is important to use your inhalers as directed.  A way to see how well your asthma is controlled is by how often you need your rescue inhaler.  If you need this more than twice a week, you may need to have your medications adjusted.  They will often add a steroid inhaler or up the dose on the steroid inhaler, if you are already using one.  If you are using a steroid inhaler or montelukast (Singulair), it is important to use these on a daily basis.  These medications are preventative and shouldn’t be used as needed.  

Allergies are controlled best with preventative medications like antihistamines and nasal steroids.  If you are using a non-drowsy antihistamine like Claritin, Zyrtec, or Allegra, you will need to use these on a daily basis during the allergy season.  For some, the allergy season is year round.  If you use these medications as needed, you will likely have your allergies flare up more often.  We see people ever year in the pharmacy that have had a cold for a couple weeks and then find out they are suffering from allergies.  

If you have questions about asthma or allergies just ask your Harmons pharmacist.    

 

Lowering Your Risks

April 17, 2014

AmericanDiabetesAssociationThe American Diabetes Association has a new website feature that can be a great help in maintaining your health – My Health Advisor. You can discover your risk for Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke all in one place! In addition, this site will create a personal action plan to help you lower your risk. If you or a loved one are concerned about your risks associated with any of these diseases, My Heath Advisor is a great place to start.

http://main.diabetes.org/dorg/mha/main_en_US.html?loc=dorg-mha

 

Mail Order from Pharmacies Out of the Country

April 2, 2014

At times, we are asked about any issues with getting prescriptions through mail order from pharmacies outside of the country.  This comes up occasionally when someone is looking for ways to save money.  There are, however, several issues with doing this.  The Utah Division of Professional Licensing released a statement about this a while back.  The article can be found at http://www.dopl.utah.gov/licensing/forms/canadian_RX.pdf.  This discusses some key issues with this being illegal and unsafe. Prescription

If you are trying to save money, pharmacists at Harmons can suggest generic medications in the same class to your doctor and, if you don’t have insurance, we can sign you up for our savings club.  If there isn’t a generic alternative, sometimes the manufacturer has coupons you can find on their website.  Let us know if you have any questions about your medications.

March Is National Kidney Month

March 14, 2014

March is National Kidney Month! So let’s take the opportunity to examine some methods to help protect our kidneys. Many of you may know that diabetes can be hard on many of the organs, especially the kidneys. You

Jessica, Pharmacy Manager

Jessica, Pharmacy Manager

may be surprised to know that diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease and kidney transplant. So, how do we prevent this from happening, if we are living with diabetes? Here are some tips about how we can all keep our kidneys healthy:

  • Visit your healthcare provider on a regular basis. There are several tests that need to be performed on at least a yearly basis, sometimes more often, to keep your body healthy. Some of these tests look directly at kidney health and function.
  • Keep your blood sugar levels under control. This can be very difficult for those recently diagnosed and specific times of year when the food is just so TASTY – holidays, birthdays, vacations. However, keeping your blood sugar within your directed range can protect your kidneys from long-term damage.
  • Keep your blood pressure in your target range. High blood pressure can be hard on the kidneys, especially if your blood sugar is out of its designated range.
  • Cut back on salt intake. The recommended salt (sodium) intake is under 2300 milligrams or less than 1 teaspoon per day. This control can also help in losing weight and keeping blood pressure down.
  • Keep your cholesterol intake at a minimum. Your kidneys act as a filtration system for your blood – keeping the good and getting rid of the bad or unnecessary. However, a high cholesterol diet can be hard on the kidney “filters” and can even damage their function. This recommendation may also help losing weight, and who doesn’t want to drop a few unwanted pounds.

Taking just one of these steps can help to prevent long-term kidney problems associated with diabetes. If you’re ever confused about where to start, our dietitians at Harmons are a fantastic resource! Let’s celebrate our bodies during National Kidney Month by taking steps to prevent kidney disease!

More Rx Medications Available OTC

March 7, 2014
Phil, Pharmacy Manager

Phil, Pharmacy Manager

Nasacort and Oxytrol are the newest prescription medications that you can now get over the counter (OTC).  Nasacort is a steroid nasal spray for allergies.  We have this in stock and there is a coupon on their website at www.nasacort.com.  It is also on sale this month at our stores.  Oxytrol is patch used for overactive bladder.  You can learn more about this medication at www.oxytrol.com.    

Some of the recent medications that were prescription and are now OTC are Allegra, Allegra-D, Prevacid, Zegerid, Alli, Zyrtec, Zyrtec-D, Plan B, Miralax, Zaditor, Lamisil, Prilosec, Claritin, and Claritin-D.   

This helps more patients to have access to these medications and is more convenient since you don’t need a prescription.  If you take a prescription version of these medications you may see some changes with your insurance.    

If you have any questions about these medications we are here to help you.  Just ask your local Harmons pharmacist.

American Diabetes Association Expo

February 24, 2014

It’s that time again. Harmons is sponsoring the American Diabetes Association Expo for the third year! Admission to the expo is FREE! Whether you are personally living with diabetes or know someone who is, you will find a wealth of information at this Expo.

  • Many FREE health screenings will be available, including blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, foot and eye screenings, and diabetes risk assessment.
  • Harmons Chef Johnny will offer four different cooking demonstrations and tasty, diabetes-friendly recipes including:
    • Smokey Egg White Frittata
    • Farro Lettuce Wrap
    • Ginger Shrimp Stir Fry
    • Jicama Salad
  • Harmons will be offering healthy and delicious samples of their fresh-made dishes and local products.
  • Harmons Registered Dietitians will take you through their portable grocery store aisle for a “store tour” to help you learn how to choose delicious foods that fit into a healthy and balanced diabetes meal plan.
  • Harmons Pharmacists will be on hand to answer your questions about managing your diabetes with medication.
  • Product exhibits and presentations will provide knowledge on the most cutting-edge technology and research.
  • Fitness demonstrations will show you how to fit exercise into your daily life.

Come learn more about healthy living with diabetes in a FUN way! Register online to receive event announcements at www.diabetes.org/exposaltlakecity or call 1-888-DIABETES (extension 7072) for more information.

Or just stop by! It’s FREE!

 South Towne Expo Center
March 1, 2014
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
9575 South State Street
Sandy, UT 84070

If you are not able to visit us at the Expo, there are still some great diabetes events you can take advantage of at Harmons Grocery Stores. We will be teaming up with our Cooking School Chefs for some great diabetes-friendly cooking classes and offering free diabetes store tours.

Registration for all events is available online or by contacting the dietitian hosting the event. For a full listing of events, check out our Great Health Calendar at www.harmonsgrocery.com/health/event-calendar/. And as always, you are welcome to schedule a one-on-one store tour at any time by giving us a call.

Dietitian Jonnell Masson, Bangerter Crossing Harmons (801) 617-0119

Dietitian Laura Holtrop Kohl, City Creek Harmons (801) 428-0364

Dietitian Jessica LaRoche, Station Park Harmons (801) 928-2634

Dietitian Kayla Leitzke, The District Harmons (801) 495-5402