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Ask a Pharmacist

Your pharmacist is your neighborhood medication expert.

We can help you understand the prescriptions your doctor gives you and can help you choose the best nonprescription—sometimes called “over-the-counter” or OTC—medications for you.

Be sure to read all the printed information your pharmacist gives you. And ask your pharmacist these questions about your OTC and prescription medications:

  • What is the name of my medication?
  • What is it supposed to do?

Learn the names of all your medications and know why you are taking each one. If you see more than one doctor, give each doctor a list of all the medications you are taking.

If your medication is going to help you, you need to take it correctly.Be sure to ask:

  • Should I take this medication on an empty stomach or with food?
  • How often should I take it?
  • What time of day should I take it?

Your prescription and OTC medications may interact with other drugs and cause a harmful effect. Certain foods or alcohol also may interact with drug products. Never begin taking a new medication without asking your pharmacist if it will interact with alcohol, foods, or other medicines.

Too many people think that medications they buy off the pharmacy shelf are harmless. They expect OTC products to have the power to help them, but they don’t respect the power these medications may also have to harm them. Your pharmacist knows all about the good that OTC medications can do—and about their potential dangers. Ask your pharmacist these four questions before you take any new OTC medication:

  • What OTC medications are available for the symptoms I have?
  • How much of this OTC should I take at a time?
  • How often should I take this OTC and for how many days in a row?
  • What other medicines, herbals, or supplements should I avoid while taking this OTC?

Know your medications and know your pharmacist choose your pharmacist as carefully as you choose your doctor. Your pharmacist is an important part of your health care team. Because most people see more than one doctor, using just one pharmacy is very important. That way, your medication records will be kept in one place. Your pharmacist can help you keep track of what you are taking—prescription and OTC—and make sure that your medications will not interact with each other.

Source: American Pharmacist Association

Looking back at 2014

Thank you for allowing us to serve you in 2014. As we look back at the year, we are grateful to you, our customers, and hope you have learned from us through our blog articles. In case you’ve missed any of them or simply want to refresh your memory, here’s a glimpse of what we’ve covered this year. Click on the links below to read the full articles.

Drug Abuse Issues

Health Tips

New Generics now available in 4th Quarter 2014

The following generic drugs came on the market in the fourth quarter of 2014:

The generic form of Renegel is now available for those of you with Hyperphosphatemia associated with chronic kidney disease.

Those of you who suffer from chronic Hepatits B, the generic form of Hepsera is now available.

For those with hypertension, the generic form of Exforge and Exforge HCT are now available.

And if you have Cystic Fibrosis, the generic form of Tobi is now available for those with Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infection.

Hopefully, these new generics will provide a less expensive option to the brand-name equivalent, but other generic drugs are increasing in cost and not providing much financial relief to consumers.

According to a recent ABC News story, a hearing was called in late November by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Maryland Representative Elijah Cummings to investigate “why some generic drug prices have risen hundreds to thousands percent.”

Sanders plans to introduce a bill that would require generic drug makers to pay a rebate to Medicaid if the cost increases faster than inflation. According to the report, “the prices of more than 1,200 generic medications increased an average of 448% between July 2013 and July 2014.

To read the entire report, click here.

Be sure to ask you doctor or pharmacist about these medications and if the generic version is right for you and if they will save you any money.

Take care of yourself this holiday season

It’s been said that suicide is more common during the Christmas season. That’s not actually true (it’s really the springtime), but the holidays can add extra stress — especially for those who already suffer from depression.

Oftentimes there are high expectations for gift giving, spending time with family, and even being happy.

With a bit of foresight and planning, however, the holidays can leave you feeling up, not down. Follow these tips for a successful holiday.

Take care of yourself
It’s okay to be a little selfish once in awhile. Simple things like reading a book, taking a nap or walking around the block can do wonders for your mental health. If you can make taking time for yourself a priority, the shopping, baking and visiting will be less stressful.

Come up with an escape plan
Even though you take steps to relax and unwind throughout the season, some stresses just can’t be avoided. Believe it or not, not every family has a picture perfect Christmas.
If you know there are going to be conflicts, be sure to prepare a statement such as “I respect your view, but let’s talk about this another time.”
Then you can go hang out with the kids, play with the dog, or help in the kitchen. And finding a friend who can lend a sympathetic ear doesn’t hurt either.

Create new traditions
Sometimes trying to live up to Christmases past can be overwhelming. So your mother or grandmother always set the perfect table and the gifts were impeccably wrapped. Or perhaps, a death or divorce is causing your grief during the holidays as your remember how things used to be. Instead, try making a list of things that make you and your family happy and start new traditions. Studies show that helping those less fortunate can make those giving just as happy as those receiving the gifts. Talking about your feelings along the way can bring you closer to the ones you love and also help in the healing process.

Get some sleep
There is a link between sleep loss and depression, so be careful about cutting back on sleep as your holiday activities increase. Getting to bed and waking up at the same time every day will help keep you on schedule. Avoiding large meals and exercise within three hours of bedtime will also help you stay rested.

Get some exercise
One of the first activities that people give up during the holidays is exercise. However, keeping it high on your to-do list should be a priority.
“The more stress we are under, the less time we feel like we have, and the more irritated our mood, the more we need to continue exercising. Get out and do something; it helps use those calories from rich, fatty, sugary holiday foods,” says Jeffrey Greeson, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine, in Durham, N.C.
Exercising for 30-60 minutes three to five days a week, is all you need to improve your mood — and keep you in shape.

Lighten the financial load
It’s easy to get caught up in the push to buy the perfect gift for every family member, friend and neighbor. The stores seem to pull us in and entice us to spend more to save more. This may be the time to start a new tradition of drawing names or organizing a gift exchange with friends or family — and even setting a limit to the amount we spend on each other. Baking gifts and having a potluck meal followed by a walk through the neighborhood or a fun game, can help to relieve the stress of the holidays.

If you feel like you just can’t get through one more holiday gathering, it’s OK to sit them out.

“One of the things about holiday stress we forget is that Thanksgiving and Christmas are both 24 hours and that’s it,” says Pauline Wallin, PhD, an author and clinical psychologist in Camp Hill, Penn.

Wallin recommends figuring out what you need to get through those 24 hours, such as volunteering, going on vacation, or visiting a shelter or someone who is alone. Focusing on others can help alleviate depression.

Text Neck – Are you at risk?

Gift-buying season is here, and on top of the wish list for most people is the latest tech gadget or gizmo. But some experts are concerned that more tech may equal more pain for frequent users. On average, Americans spend 2.7 hours per day communicating and socializing on their phones, and even more time looking down at their mobile devices for web searching and so many other uses.

Of the 6 billion people in the world, over 4 billion have mobile phones and over one billion text messages are sent every month worldwide.

According to a study at the New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitative Medicine, poor posture, especially when you’re on a cell phone or smart device, adds an amazing amount of weight around your neck.

Just how much load does that constant downward-looking gaze put on the neck muscles?

“When your spine is in neutral position, the head weighs about 10-12 pounds,” said Kenneth K. Hansraj, MD. “At 15 degrees [forward], the neck sees 27 pounds. At 45 degrees, it sees 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees, it’s 60 pounds.”

That’s 60 pounds of weight stress on muscles and nerves that are meant to handle 10-12 pounds of stress, and that much load can do a lot of damage over time.

“When you have such aggressive stressors on the neck, you get wear and tear on the spine,” Hansraj says. “You can develop tears within the disc, or even get a slipped or herniated disc.”

The end result? “We’re seeing tons of patients who have neck pain, and really when you look at the MRIs, they are fairly normal,” he says. “When we straighten them up and get them some physical therapy, they do a lot better.”

The upper part of the spine is normally curved to allow nerves plenty of space to pass through the neck and out into the body. But when you crunch that space down, it can cause major problems down the line.

If left untreated, Text Neck can result in serious permanent damage including:

  • Flattening of the spinal curve
  • Onset of early arthritis
  • Spinal degeneration
  • Spinal misalignment
  • Disc herniation
  • Disc compression
  • Muscle damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Loss of lung volume capacity
  • Gastrointestinal problems

In addition to reversing the amount of time you’re looking down, you can:

Stretch at home.
Get a massage.
See a chiropractor or physical therapist.

If you don’t start taking steps to reduce your risk of Text Neck, it will only get worse.

Sources: WebMD and Text Neck Institute