February 1, 2017

Depression: The Most Common Illness in the World

The World Health Organization recognizes depression as the most common illness in the world and estimates that 350 million people are affected by depression globally [1].  Depression is a condition where the severity of the condition varies greatly from person to person.

Depression is a mental health disorder in which the patient faces sadness and loss of interest in various aspects of their life. These feelings often result in an unhealthy condition of the patient’s mood. It is common for people to confuse common fluctuations in the mood with depression. These fluctuations are part of a normal and healthy life; therefore depression cannot be classified by fluctuations in the mood over a very short period of time. The standard period of a depressive episode is usually 6-8 months to be classified as depression [2].

Since depression is a very complex disease, it is extremely difficult to narrow down a generalized cause. The condition varies patient to patient and a series of factors are observed in order to diagnose a patient. For instance, genetics and biological changes in neurotransmitter levels may cause depression. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in the brain that affect chemical changes in the body which cause a change in mood. Also, a family history of depression elevates the chances for the condition, as it is a genetic condition. Looking into family history in cases of depression is a common procedure for family physicians. Furthermore, there are environmental and physiological factors that may contribute to depression. These factors are often determined by social and personal factors a person may face in everyday life.

These causes are often self-diagnosed, but it is vitally important that patients seek a medical professional’s attention in order to further classify the type of condition that they may be facing. Being in a bad mood doesn’t always signify depression, so it is best to get a professional opinion.

[1] Depression. World Health Organization. Retrieved from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/

[2] Depression: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments. MacGill, Markus. Medical News Today. Retrieved from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/kc/depression-causes-symptoms-treatments-8933

December 8, 2016

Avocados: An Excellent Way to Fight Cholesterol

hass-avocoado-with-slice_zyPwlDO_Lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels are a reality that many adults are challenged with. An abundance of cholesterol causes your blood stream to carry more plaque and cholesterol in your arteries. Excess plaque can create a blockage that causes chest pains and greatly increases the risk of heart attacks and other heart conditions.

The first step to avoid these severe situations is to improve your diet by consuming foods that help lower LDL levels. A recent study that was reviewed by WebMD showed the beneficial effects of avocados on your LDL levels. This comes as a surprise to many people, as avocados are commonly seen as a fatty food, which seems counteractive to combating high cholesterol. However, they are in fact high in monounsaturated fat, vitamins, minerals, fiber, all ingredients that help lower LDL levels. Researchers concluded that “people on a moderate-fat diet who ate an avocado every day had lower [LDL] cholesterol levels than those on a similar diet without an avocado a day or those who were on a lower-fat diet” [1].

Sources:

[1] Avocados Help Lower Cholesterol in some People. WebMd. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/news/20150108/avocado-ldl-bad-cholesterol]

October 4, 2016

4 Ways Prescription and Over the Counter Drugs Differ

Drugs can usually be categorized into prescription and over the counter (OTC) drugs. These two categories have many significant differences. Here are four aspects in which they differ:

Prescriptions are not needed for OTC drugs.

OTC Drugs can be purchased without a prescription or a doctor’s referral.  The assumption is that the patient is able to recognize their symptoms and find an appropriate OTC drug to reduce them. Prescription drugs however require a doctor’s prescription. This is due to the fact that the patient needs to see the doctor before he can recommend a stronger or more specific drug to cure their condition.

The sale of prescription drugs is limited compared to OTC drugs.

Prescription drugs can only be dispensed by pharmacies. A mandatory prescription is needed for these drugs and can only be sold once prescription is verified. However, OTC drugs are readily available at pharmacies and grocery stores straight off the shelf.  They are also available at pharmacies but are not limited to them.

Consumption and usage of OTC and prescription drugs is distinct.

When purchasing a prescription drug you are provided with a specific label which guides you on what dose to take. These instructions are highly specific and are recommended by your doctor. You may also receive additional advice from the pharmacist on how to take the drug.  OTC drugs use different reference points, such as weight, height, age, on how to determine what dose is appropriate for each patient.

Use of OTC drugs requires self-diagnosis.

Patients make the decision of which drugs they need to take when purchasing OTC drugs whereas doctors determine which drugs a patient should take when purchasing prescription drugs. However, if the symptoms are uncommon, or are not alleviated by the OTC drug, it is advisable that they consult a doctor so they can prescribe the appropriate medication.

 

 

September 20, 2016

Why is Vitamin D Important for Nursing Babies?

pill-316601_960_720Vitamin D is an essential vitamin and an important part of everyone’s diet. Getting a good amount of vitamin D in the early stages of life can help prevent autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Most importantly, Vitamin D increases calcium metabolism and reduces risk of current infections. Sometime this can be tricky because the main source of our vitamin D comes from food and the sun.  Proper diets have a huge influence in determining our levels of this crucial vitamin.

It is vital that a baby consume enough vitamin D during the first year of life. This is particularly hard to do because breast milk and baby food may contain very little amounts of vitamin D.  However, “new research has found that giving breastfeeding mothers monthly high-dose vitamin D supplements may be a possible way to improve their babies’ vitamin D status”[1].

[1] University of Otago. “Increasing nursing mothers’ vitamin D levels may benefit babies.” Science Daily. Science Daily, 30 August 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160830101350.htm>.

September 6, 2016

What You Need To Know About Your Prescription Medication

team of pharmacist chemist woman group standing in pharmacy drugstore

Make sure to double-check that you are leaving a pharmacy with the right medication.

There are certain measures in place that protects a patient’s health and safety before receiving a prescription medication. Since prescription medications are stronger than medications sold over the counter, the purchasing process is highly regulated. In order to ensure a safe experience, it is important that a patient takes their own precautions as well.

The prescription process begins with your family physician writing a prescription with detailed instructions on how to take the medication. Next, your pharmacist receives this information and double checks to ensure that the information filled out in the prescription is accurate and safe for the patient to take.

When dealing with prescriptions, there are certain things about the ordering process that would be beneficial for patients to know. For instance, reading hand-written prescriptions can be a challenge for pharmacists and has resulted over 7000 deaths related to reading-related mistakes [1]. So, it is vital that you and your pharmacist double check that you are receiving the correct type and dosage of medication.

Children are another safety risk that parents must give special attention towards. Child-resistant lids for medication bottles are the ideal preventative measure, reducing the danger when a child has a bottle of medication in their hand.

It is also important to be well-informed in regards to the kind of medication you are taking. There has been a noticeable decrease of risk perception on the danger of prescription drugs by 20% over the last 20 years, which is a dangerous proposition [2]. There are numerous cases of preventable medication errors each year that causes harm to patients. Knowing the exact instructions and the dangers of accidental overdose is crucial to preventing these accidents.

 

[1] Caplan, Jeremy. Time. Retrieved from http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1578074,00.html

[2] U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm220112.htm

August 9, 2016

What You Need To Know About Tylenol Overdose

Filed under: discount canadian prescriptions — drwatson @ 7:14 pm

Acetaminophen is the most common drug that is purchased over the counter. The brand name drug, Tylenol, is relied upon by numerous people who use it for its pain-relieving and fever-reducing properties. It is advisable that a person not take more than 4 grams (4000mg) of acetaminophen in a 24 hour period. It is proven that taking more than this amount causes liver damage. In severe cases, an acetaminophen overdose can be fatal.

Overdoses of acetaminophen are common in children, who can accidentally ingest the drug when mistaking it for candy or juice. In addition, there are some cases where adults can be victims of an unintended acetaminophen overdose. These symptoms are usually a result of taking an incorrect dosage or the effects of multiple medications taken at the same time. It is common that acetaminophen is in numerous drugs because it acts as a vital ingredient which functions to reduce pain. It is always a good idea to consult with your family physician if it is safe to keep taking Tylenol or acetaminophen alongside your other medications.

It usually takes over 12 hours for symptoms to appear from an acetaminophen overdose. Symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin)
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite

It is important that one seeks emergency attention if they fall under one of these specifications:

  • Someone who is 5 years or older has taken 91mg/pound of body weight within 8 hours
  • A person of any age who has taken 68mg/pound of body weight or a total of 6 grams of acetaminophen in a period of 24 hours.

July 19, 2016

Pharmaceutical Companies Manipulate Prices to Maximize Profits

graph-and-dollar-sign-as-shadow_M1DL4crO-compressorIt is a common practice in a business to think about maximizing profits. But when pharmaceutical companies like Valeant Pharmaceuticals are seen hiking their drug prices up to 6000% it raises a red flag on many ethical levels.  This activity is not new in the pharmaceutical industry.

Valeant is not the only company which increases their prices significantly; it is common for many large pharmaceutical companies to increase prices, as there are no legal ramifications to their actions. Recently, Valeant was placed in the spotlight because they were increasing the prices for many critical medications such as Nitropress, Isurpel, Syprine, and Cupermine. Furthermore, these medications were not innovative or new; this causes consumer outrage because the ridiculous price increases cannot be justified.

Therefore, the occurrence of cases like Valeant is indicative of manipulative strategies to earn the most out of vulnerable consumers. Find out more on the dialogue between Valeant and the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging and how they explained the price hikes on drug prices.

July 12, 2016

The Hidden Downside to Electronic Prescriptions

The use of e-prescriptions is a growing trend for physicians. From the introduction of e-prescriptions in 2006, the prevalence of this process has increased to over 70% of all physicians [1].  E-prescribing allows prescribers to electronically send patients’ prescription information to pharmacy computers.  This process has reduced the amount of paperwork and any errors associated with reliance on handwritten prescriptions, which increases the safety and quality of the prescription process.

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E-prescribing has made its way into all 50 states and has even become mandatory in states such as Minnesota and New York.

“When it works, it’s seamless,” says New York County Medical Society President Dr. Michael T. Goldstein, an ophthalmologist who issues many prescriptions electronically himself. “But there are circumstances where it doesn’t work, and patients suffer.”

“It’s also harder for patients to shop around for medication deals when a script is in a pharmacy’s system instead of in hand”, says Dr. Joseph R. Maldonado, president of the Medical Society of the State of New York.

There is a barrier to online pharmacies, which require a written prescription to fill prescription medication orders.  Learn how to get a paper prescription when e-Prescribing is mandatory. https://www.pharmacycheckerblog.com/how-to-get-a-paper-prescription-when-e-prescribing-is-required

 

References:

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/east/2016/03/21/402515.htm

https://www.healthit.gov/sites/default/files/oncdatabriefe-prescribingincreases2014.pdf

July 5, 2016

How to Save 94% on Blood Cholesterol Medicine

Rosuvastatin is an oral drug which is commonly used to lower blood cholesterol levels. It also treats many conditions such as hyperlipidemia, mixed dyslipidemia, and hypertriglyceridemia. This drug is now available as a generic in many pharmacies but the brand name, Crestor, is much cheaper if purchased online.

medical warehouse

According to Pharmacychecker.com, “ninety pills of generic rosuvastatin cost a whopping $795 at a Walgreens in Brooklyn, NY, but 90 pills of brand name Crestor is 94% less at a low-cost international online pharmacy.”

Many consumers tend to speculate the quality of the drugs when purchasing from an online pharmacy, but with the help of online resources like Pharmacychecker.com it is easy to verify that these drugs are being purchased from a reliable source.

Search for affordable blood cholesterol medication

June 28, 2016

How Can You Take Advantage of Lower Drug Prices Abroad?

Filed under: discount canadian prescriptions — drwatson @ 8:48 pm

Each year many consumers purchase medication from online sources outside of the United States because the drug prices of some online pharmacies are much cheaper than local pharmacies. Cost savings are a great motivator, but it is important that the pharmacy is a reliable source. Some online pharmacies offer far-fetched discounts that are possible only from irresponsible or unreliable manufacturing, so it is important to know where your drugs are coming from.

Cheap online medication

Pharmacychecker.com is an excellent source in which consumers are able to verify and compare prices across trustworthy online pharmacies. This slideshow on Pharmacychecker.com explains the process they use to verify pharmacies to ensure that they are providing safe medication.

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