UCSOP Script Your Future & Medication Safety Radio Program Available for Download

In February and early-March the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy hosted a six-part Radio Blog Talk Series on Medication Safety and Adherence in partnership with Forest of the Rain Productions.

Script Your FutureThe programs were held every Wednesday from 8:30pm-9:30pm EST, February 1-March 8, 2017 and featured our students, faculty, staff and community partners. Information about medication adherence was shared in addition to discussion regarding our community efforts to promote medication safety education and training. 

Topics of discussion included:

  • February 1-Introduction to the Script Your Future Medication Adherence Challenge
  • February 8-Generation Rx: Prescription Safety Education in Partnership with Kanawha County Schools and the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy
  • February 15-Proper Medication Disposal
  • February 22-The Nationwide Drug Epidemic and the Role of Medication Adherence
  • March 1-Medication Adherence and Safety: Focus on DEA 360 Strategy
  • March 8-Disease Management and Medication Adherence

All shows were recorded for rebroadcast and can be access at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ptlsafemedicationuse

Diabetes Eye Care & Medication Adherence

Contributed by:  Ashley Rife and Anojinie Karunathilake, Class of 2017 Fellows

SOP script your future_FB newsfeedThrough March 18, 2016, the University of Charleston is participating in the National Script Your Future Challenge focused on promoting medication adherence.

Through outreach activities our goal, is to help educate the public and our patients about the importance of taking medications as prescribed. As part of our efforts to spread the word about medication adherence, our students are writing articles and blog posts related to three specific disease states–cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and respiratory disease. 


There are several vision related complications that can arise in patients with diabetes. These include diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma1.

  • Diabetic retinopathy: the most common form of diabetic eye disease where there is damage to blood vessels in the retina
  • Cataract: clouding of the lens
  • Glaucoma: damage done to the optic nerve that is often resulted from high blood pressure2

Risk Factors

The risk for diabetic eye disease increases the longer a person has had diabetes. Older adults, African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic/Latino populations are at a higher risk for developing vision loss due to diabetes1.

According to National Eye Institute of National Institutes of Health (NIH), you can follow these simple steps to keep on ‘TRACK’ (see picture)1.

Take medications as directed by your doctor

Reach and maintain a healthy weight

Add physical activity

Control your ABC’s (A1c, Blood Pressure and Cholesterol)

Kick the smoking habit



Take Your Medications As Prescribed by Your Doctor

It is very important you take the medications as instructed by your doctor1. Your pharmacist and doctor can help you with appropriate technique, storage, and dosing. In order to help preserve good vision it is necessary to stay in control of your blood sugar1. Taking your diabetes medications as prescribed and testing your blood sugar appropriately will help to keep your diabetes under control. Fasting blood sugar (the blood sugar in the morning before breakfast) according to the American Diabetes Association guidelines should be less than 110 mg/dl3. Blood sugar readings after a meal according to the guidelines should less than 140 mg/dl. High blood sugar over time can damage your eyesight. If you keep your blood sugar levels steady (in control), you can slow the damage to the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. Lastly, it’s recommended you keep a log of your blood sugar readings and bring that to your pharmacist and physician so they can help you better control your blood sugar. Keeping a log will also help with adhering properly to your medication regimen.

The Importance of Taking Medications that Aren’t Specifically for Diabetes

There are also several medications that are not necessarily prescribed for diabetes that are important to take as prescribed. These include medications for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. High blood pressure alone can lead to eye disease. If you have high blood pressure and diabetes, you need to be even more careful about how you manage your conditions. Although you may not feel “sick” from high blood pressure, it is important to take your medication daily as prescribed. Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure at every visit. Check with your local pharmacist and see if they provide blood pressure checks. No appointment needed! For most people with diabetes, your goal blood pressure should be less than 140/904. Be sure to have your cholesterol levels checked annually. All it takes is a simple blood test to find out how much “bad” (LDL) and “good” (HDL) cholesterol you have. Too much LDL is linked to blood vessel damage.


  1. NIH NEHEP. Stay on TRACK to Prevent Blindness from Diabetes. https://nei.nih.gov/sites/default/files/nehep-pdfs/NDM_SM_Toolkit_2015.pdf. Accessed February 15, 2016.
  2. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org. Accessed February 11, 2016.
  3. American Diabetes Association. Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes-2015. Diabetes Care. 2015;38:1-94.
  4. Dennison-himmelfarb C, Handler J, Lackland DT. 2014 Evidence-Based Guideline for the Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults Report From the Panel Members Appointed to the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8). JAMA. 2014;311(5):507-520.




Student Pharmacists Discuss the Importance of Healthy Eating with Diabetes

SOP script your future_FB newsfeedAs we move into March the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy continues our focus on medication adherence. In fact, we are participating in a nationwide campaign called “Script Your Future.” The goal of the campaign is to encourage everyone to take their medication as prescribed. In addition, Script Your Future, targets three disease states–cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes. Since March is also National Nutrition Month, our students are pairing messages related to medication adherence, healthy eating, and disease management. Three of our P3 students, who are also USCOP Fellows, have some important tips for managing Diabetes through healthy eating.

Heathy EatingEvery person battling with diabetes is not the same, and because of this, there is no one-size-fits-all diet to help them control their blood sugar. However with a few skills, managing blood sugar through healthy eating isn’t that difficult. There are several tools available that can help with this, like using the Create Your Plate method from the American Diabetes Association and understanding how to correctly read nutrition labels.

There are a few easy steps to using the Create Your Plate method for healthy eating for people with diabetes. First, a dinner plate should be seen as having an imaginary line down the middle, and that one of those sides is cut in half again so that now there are three sections on the plate. The biggest section should be filled with non-starchy vegetables, like greens, carrots, beans, broccoli, etc. Then, grains and starchy foods should fill one of the smaller sections, such as potatoes, corn, green peas, rice, bread, or pasta. The other smaller section should contain lean protein, like chicken, fish, cheese, or eggs. Now that the plate is full, a serving of fruit (¾ cup of fresh fruit or ½ cup of fruit juice) and a serving of dairy, like 1 cup of milk or yogurt, should be added. Low-calorie drinks like unsweetened tea or water are great beverage choices.

While nutrition labels can seem complicated, they contain several important pieces of information for patients with diabetes when meal planning. The first thing to take note of is the serving size typically listed at the top. The nutrition information on every food label is based on the serving size, and 1 serving size may not be the entire package. For example, the serving size for most cans of soup is 1 cup while the can contains 2+ servings. The next thing listed on a nutrition label are the percent daily values (%DV) for the major nutrients in the food item. It is important to realize that these percent daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet, so this may not match up to the person’s meal plan.

The most important part of the nutrition label for patients with diabetes is the carbohydrates. The label will state how many carbohydrates are in each serving and then break it down into the kinds of carbohydrates present, which typically are dietary fibers and sugars. Dietary fiber is important as it isn’t digested or absorbed so it doesn’t raise the blood sugar and prevents it from rising too quickly. It also helps lower cholesterol. For patients with diabetes, a normal range of carbohydrates per meal is 45 to 60 grams so reading this section of the label is crucial.

FOOdWhile diet is extremely important for diabetes management, it is not the only area of a person’s life that should be monitored. Additionally, moderate exercise of 30 minutes a day, or 150 minutes per week, is recommended for an individual with diabetes. This in conjunction with a healthy diet should provide a healthy lifestyle that will slow the progression of diabetes. It is important to speak with your doctor personally about the best way to diet, exercise, and lose weight. Don’t forget to ask your doctor about an A1c test, daily blood sugar monitoring, cholesterol levels, and the appropriateness of a yearly influenza vaccine, eye exam, and foot exam.

Contributed by: Jeremy Arthur, Jamie Huff, and Katie Oliver, Class of 2017


  1. “Create Your Plate.” American Diabetes Association. N.p., 19 Oct. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/create-your-plate/?referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F&gt;.
  2. “Health Care Professionals.” Tools. N.p., 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.scriptyourfuture.org/health-care-professionals/adherence-tools/diabetes/&gt;.
  3. “Taking a Closer Look At Labels.” American Diabetes Association. N.p., 27 June 2014. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/food-tips/taking-a-closer-look-at-labels.html?referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F&gt;.

UCSOP Kicks off Script Your Future Medication Adherence Campaign

January 19, 2016 through March 18, 2016 an interdisciplinary student team from pharmacy, physicians assistant, and other health professions from the University of Charleston will kick off a series of community outreach activities through West Virginia to raise awareness about the health consequences of not taking medication as directed. They will join with health professions students across the country in the 2016 Medication Adherence Team Challenge, a two month-long inter-collegiate competition among health profession student teams and faculty for creating solutions to raise awareness about medication adherence as a critical public health issue. The Challenge, coordinated by the National Consumers League (NCL), America’s pioneer consumer group and the lead organization on the national Script Your Future campaign, is returning to university campuses across the country, this year for two months, after four years of successful student innovation.

SYFchallengeinfographic #1 2016[2]

About the Challenge: The Challenge is part of Script Your Future, a campaign launched by the National Consumers League and partners in 2011 to combat the problem of poor medication adherence. In the United States, nearly three out of four patients do not take their medication as directed. The campaign focuses on three disease states—diabetes, cardiovascular, and respiratory. All of these disease states are among the leading causes of hospitalization in West Virginia.

“In 2013 and 2015 our students received national recognition from the National Consumers League for their efforts in educating West Virginians about the importance of medication adherence and managing chronic disease,” said Dr. Susan Gardner, UCSOP’s Assistant Dean for Professional and Student Affairs. “Our students are committed to educating the public and conducting medication adherence and disease management outreach activities that reach individuals in both urban and rural areas.”

Our 2016 Script Your Future Activities: Activities will be coordinated by pharmacy students including health fairs, educational outreach activities, and public service announcements on radio and television through West Virginia January 18-March 18, 2016. Pharmacy students, pre-pharmacy students, athletic training and physician assistant students will be partnering to deliver education and health screenings at various locations throughout the state. In addition, through a partnership with Fruth Pharmacy, mediation adherence information will be distributed with prescriptions at all Fruth locations during February 2016. For a comprehensive list of events CLICK HERE.

“There are many reasons why people don’t take their medicine as directed, but the consequences for patients are the same,” said Michelle Easton, Dean of the UC School of Pharmacy. “Nonadherence puts patients, especially those with chronic conditions, such as diabetes or asthma, at risk for serious complications.” Students, faculty and staff at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy are encouraging EVERYONE to take the pledge to take their medications as prescribed. Take the PLEDGE NOW!

SYF challenge3

For more information about our Script Your Future Activities or to schedule an event at your location or with your organization, contact: Dr. Susan Gardner, 304-357-4879, susangardner@ucwv.edu.