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

Script Your Future – Understanding OTC Medications

Script Your Future

Non-prescription (a.k.a. over-the-counter or OTC) medicines have become increasingly popular among Americans in recent years. In the past, OTC medications have been viewed as home remedies to treat aches, pains, and itching. What many people do not consider, however, is their ability to treat and even cure a variety of conditions. Some OTC products can prevent diseases like tooth decay, and even cure diseases like athlete’s foot. Along with a doctor and/or pharmacist’s guidance, some OTC products can be used to manage recurring conditions like yeast infections, migraines, and arthritis pain. It is important to fully discuss your plans on using OTC products with your doctor before trying a product on your own!

When a product is available to be purchased without doctor’s prescription, there are certain precautions you must take before selecting a product to fit your needs. As a whole, people are living longer, working longer, and becoming more active in their own healthcare, which means more people are becoming informed about the best self-care practices, including OTC use. The best way to ensure that you are purchasing a safe and effective product, is to read and understand the information on the OTC product label. Common terms found on OTC labels are defined below:

  • Active Ingredient(s) – the substance in the product which provides its therapeutic action
  • Inactive Ingredient(s) – substances like flavorings, binders, and colorings
  • Warnings – possible side effects; when not to use the product;  when to stop taking it; when to see a doctor
  • Purpose – the general category of the product (i.e. antacid, antihistamine, etc.)
  • Uses – the symptoms or disease the product is intended to treat/prevent
  • Directions – how to use the medication; what dose to take; how frequently to take it; and duration of treatment course

When it comes to medications, more does not always mean better. You should never misuse OTC medications by taking them longer or in higher doses than the label recommends. If you have any questions regarding how to use a product or how to read the label, do not hesitate to ask your pharmacist for help. If the symptoms you are trying to treat persist despite treatment, that is a clear signal to go see your doctor right away!

References: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/UnderstandingOver-the-CounterMedicines/Choosingtherightover-the-countermedicineOTCs/UCM150312.pdf

NCPA and AAPS Host Script Your Future Event at Fruth Pharmacy!

Student pharmacists at UCSOP are working diligently towards reaching their goal of 10,000 pledges for the 2017 Script Your Future Challenge. However, reaching this goal cannot be done without collaboration and support from fellow students and community organizations. This is why NCPA and AAPS have teamed up to host a Script Your Future event at four Fruth Pharmacy locations in West Virginia! Details about this event can be found below.
Script Your Future   Fruth Pharmacy

Who: NCPA, AAPS, UCSOP Students, Fruth Pharmacy staff and customers

What: Script Your Future/Medication Disposal/Medication Synchronization Outreach

Where: Fruth @ Oakwood Road, Lee Street, Scott Depot, and Nitro

When: February 20-25, 2017

Details: Students from UCSOP will be volunteering at the Fruth stores in Scott Depot, Nitro, Oakwood Road, and Lee Street to educate patients about medication adherence, medication disposal, and medication synchronization.  This event will focus on getting patients to take the Script Your Future Pledge. Students will also be handing out goodie bags filled with medication wallet cards cards, pill organizers, and flyers for education on how to properly dispose or medications. Students will also have their iPads on-site so customers can conveniently take the pledge in real-time!

Come out and support our students while learning more about medication adherence and safety! If you’d like to learn more about Script Your Future visit http://www.scriptyourfuture.com or take the pledge at http://www.ucwv.edu/pharmacy!

Script Your Future – Tips on Talking With Your Pharmacist About Using Medications Safely

Script Your FuturePharmacists are a valuable resource for patients when they have questions about their medications. Being the drug experts means that pharmacists are well-educated in both prescription and non-prescription medications. If you or someone you know have any questions about your medications and how to take them safely, contact your local pharmacist!

When speaking with your pharmacist regarding your medications, it is very important to give him/her any information about your health and current medications. Things to inform your pharmacist about include: any food or drug allergies, if you have any restrictions that could influence your ability to take medications (i.e. difficulty swallowing), a list of all your current medications and health conditions, and if you are pregnant or may become pregnant, etc.

When asking your pharmacist, or any other healthcare professional for that matter, a question regarding your care it can be helpful to write down a list of questions you want to ask them. Examples of questions to ask your pharmacist:

  1. What are the brand and generic names?
  2. What is this for, and how is it going to help me?
  3. How and when should I use it? How much do I use?
  4. How long should I use it? Can I stop using the medicine or use less if I feel better?
  5. What should I do if I miss a dose or use too much?
  6. When will the medicine start working? How should I expect to feel?

When talking with your pharmacist about your medications, be sure you write down any important information they tell you, take home and read any pamphlets of information provided to you, and make sure you have the pharmacy’s phone number in case you need to call back for further questions! Once you get home, there are additional steps you can take to ensure you are taking your medications safely and properly. Tips for safe medication use at-home include: double checking the label on the bottle to make sure you are taking the correct medication, using proper measuring devices (syringes, medication spoons, etc.) to get the correct dose, and following proper storage directions for the medication (refrigeration, away from light, etc.).

For more helpful tips on how to talk to your pharmacist and take your medications safely, visit www.fda.gov/usemedicinesafely

Script Your Future: How to Dispose of Unused Medications at Home

The dispensing of prescription medications, especially controlled substances such as narcotics, is tightly regulated by pharmacies and other government agencies. With that being said, there is a lack of oversight on how to discard these medications properly if they go unused. A national survey of United States adults found that nearly half of all patients with pain medication had or expected to have “leftover” medication (1). The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 68% of those who use pain medications non-medically got them from friends or family members (2). It is clear to see how keeping unused narcotics increases the chances of unwanted drug diversion.

Fortunately, there are several solutions to combat this problem. Many retail pharmacies now sell drug disposal systems commonly in the form of pouches or bottles. These systems are safe, effective, and convenient ways for patients to get rid of any unused or unwanted prescription medications without flushing them down the drain. Activated charcoal within the pouches or bottles renders the medications inactive when water is added to the container along with the medications. The containers should then be appropriately sealed, and can be thrown away with household trash. Another upside to these disposal systems is their usefulness for various drug formulations (tablets, capsules, liquids, and patches). Below are samples of at-home drug disposal systems that are easily used. Many drug manufacturers will donate these drug disposal systems at no cost, so ask your local pharmacy about them today!

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Delterra Pouches

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Element Drug Disposal System

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Can dissolve 45 pills or 6 oz. liquid or 6 patches

Contributed by: Rebekah Dunham, Class of 2017

References:

  1. Kennedy-Hendricks A, Gielen A, McDonald E, McGinty EE, Shields W, Barry CL. Medication Sharing, Storage, and Disposal Practices for Opioid Medications Among US Adults. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(7):1027-1029. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.2543
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2013). National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville

The National Opioid Epidemic and Pharmacist’s Role in Drug Diversion

An epidemic is ravaging our country and the ways in which we, as pharmacists and healthcare providers, can aid in the fight that is the “Opioid Crisis” are numerous. Take our beloved state of West Virginia for instance, where there have been 33.5 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 residents from 2011-13 compared to 22 per 100,000 residents in the years preceding. (1) “Wyoming, McDowell, Boone and Mingo [counties] lead the nation in fatal overdoses caused by pain pills, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” (2) Over the past 6 years drug wholesalers have shipped nearly 800 million oxycodone and hydrocodone tablets drawing the attention of both the DEA and the state government. One of the nation’s largest wholesalers, Cardinal, agreed to pay over $40 million in fines to settle allegations of failure to report suspicious purchasing patterns for opioids. (3) You may find yourself asking what can I, a pharmacist, do to help?

First and foremost, counseling our patients on their medications and informing them of the potential risk of abuse is a great first step. It is important to get to know our patients and their situation so we can make sure the medications are used responsibly. Remind patients that medication is not to be shared with friends or family under any circumstances without the consult and consent of their health care provider. Inquire of your patient(s) whether the medication is working to alleviate symptoms and offer additional ways to help manage pain such as exercise, meditation, or even yoga. If needed, refer them to additional resources such as their doctor or other healthcare providers.

Secondly, inform patients about overdose protocol and the availability of lifesaving drugs such as naloxone (Narcan). Police and paramedics, who are usually the first responders to overdose victims, are also carrying naloxone to help curb loss of life. Educate individuals on the proper use of naloxone to reverse an overdose whether it accidental or intentional and where to purchase an emergency dose. Naloxone is now available by physician protocol at your local pharmacies in many states, including WV. It is imperative to instruct those who purchase naloxone that after administering a dose they must go to the hospital immediately because the effects will wear off and the victim will require hospital attention.

DEA 360 Strategy Meeting in the UC Ballroom!

DEA 360 Strategy Meeting in the UC Ballroom!

Pharmacists also have a responsibility to be proactive in this “Opioid Crisis” and become advocates for change in our communities. Reaching out to our state Senate and House of Representatives to promote new legislation and initiatives to curb this wave of abuse is another great step. On Wednesday January 25th 2017, DEA representatives came to the University of Charleston to host a stakeholders strategy meeting that focused on providing support for West Virginia for heroin and opioid use, and violence in our community. US Attorney Caroline Mastro has approved $500,000 for the trial portion of a program to diversify ways to help out this crisis. The DEA speakers addressed the present dismissive attitudes surrounding the subject and called out to leaders to unite with the common goal of fighting addiction in this state.

These patients are not the enemy but a casualty to what has historically been labeled a victimless crime. So the next time someone comes in a day early to fill their script or the doctor ups their dose don’t just shove them out the door replying, “it is too soon to fill” or “we don’t have any in stock.” Have a conversation with the patient to make sure they are aware that help is out there if they are ready to start their journey to recovery. Those who are abusing pain medications may be doing so in order to mask the pain of another situation and your conversation may spark the road to recovery! Please join us in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

References:

  1. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3128229/West-Virginia-rate-drug-overdose-deaths.html
  2. http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2016/12/19/report-dea-records-show-west-virginia-flooded-with-drugs.html
  3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/cardinal-health-fined-44-million-for-opioid-reporting-violations/2017/01/11/4f217c44-d82c-11e6-9a36-1d296534b31e_story.html?utm_term=.d248d375b1fa

 

UCSOP Kicks off Radio Program on Medication Adherence & Safety

On February 1, 2017 the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy kicked off the first of a six-part Radio Blog Talk Series on Medication Safety and Adherence in partnership with Forest of the Rain Productions.

Script Your FutureEvery Wednesday from 8:30pm-9:30pm EST, February 1-March 8, 2017, the program will feature our students, faculty, staff and community partnership. We will be sharing information about medication adherence and highlighting our community efforts to promote medication safety.

The first show focused on the Script Your Future Campaign. Guests included our Dean, Dr. Michelle Easton and 2017 Script Your Future Chairs, David Poe (Class of 2018), Erik Hanson (Class of 2019), and Tyler Leroy (Class of 2020).  The show was recorded for rebroadcasting and download and can be accessed at: http://forestoftheraineducation.weebly.com/parent-talk-live-special-edition-series-safe-medication-use-script-your-future-medication-adherence-challenge.html

In total, UCSOP We has the potential to reach between 5,000 and 10,000 persons per show throughout the U.S. and in over 50 countries Worldwide.

Learn more about the series at: http://forestoftheraineducation.weebly.com/forest-of-the-rain-productions-and-the-university-of-charleston-school-of-pharmacy.html

 Future programs include: 

February 8: Generation Rx—Prescription Safety Education Partnership with Kanawha County Schools and the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy

Guests: Being Confirmed

February 15: Proper Medication Disposal

Guests: Rebekah Dunham, Class of 2017, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy and Kristi Justice, Executive Director, Kanawha Communities that Care

February 22: The Nationwide Drug Epidemic & The Role of Medication Adherence with

Guests: Michael Brumage, MD, MPH, FACP, Executive Director/Health Officer, Kanawha-Charleston Health Department; Lindsay Acree, Pharm.D., Assistant Professor, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy; and Rachel Peaytt, Class of 2019, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy

March 1: Medication Adherence & Safety–Focus on DEA 360 Program

Guests: David Gourley, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Agency, Charleston District Office; Victoria Oyewole & Amy Bateman, Class of 2018, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy

March 8: Disease Management and Medication Adherence

Guests: Lindsay Acree, Pharm. D., Assistant Professor, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy; Kristy Lucas, Pharm.D., Professor, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy; Karrie Juengel, Pharm. D., Assistant Professor, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy; and Anne Tiechmann, Pharm.D., Assistant Professor, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy

 

Script Your Future – UCSOP Kicks Off 2017 Medication Adherence Challenge

Script Your Future

The 2017 Script Your Future (SYF) Campaign has officially begun, and as such, the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy is working tirelessly to educate the public about the importance of medication adherence. The main goal of SYF is to educate others about safe and proper medication use. This includes taking medications only as directed by a doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional. For persons with long-term health conditions, especially, adhering to their medications is critical and possibly life-saving. Research has shown that more than 1 in 3 medication-related hospitalizations happen because the person did not take their medicine as instructed. Furthermore, almost 125,000 people die each year due to medication non-adherence.

Unfortunately, medication adherence is something many people struggle with. Some patients either never fill their prescriptions, or they may never pick up their filled prescriptions from the pharmacy. Others bring their medication home, but they end up skipping doses or stop taking the medication all together. It is important for everyone to take their medications only as directed by a health care provider so they do not take too high or too low of a dose. Not taking medications as instructed, can be detrimental for your health. For example, if a person with COPD does not regularly use their maintenance inhaler, it can result in increased shortness of breath and significantly decrease their overall quality of life. Not taking medications as directed can lead to other health problems, especially if you already have asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure.

There are many reasons people lack proper medication adherence. Forgetfulness, adverse side effects, cost, and thinking the medication is not needed are all common reasons people do not take their medications properly. No matter the reason, however, by not taking medications as directed, it increases the patients chances of experiencing worsening disease states and/or symptoms, and may even decrease their protection from future health complications. If you or a loved one have questions about your health conditions, how your medicine works, why you need to take your medicine, side effects or other concerns– talk to your doctor, pharmacist, nurse or other health care professional. The members of your healthcare team will help you understand your disease states and what steps you can take in managing those conditions. The best, first step you can take, however, is to take your medications as directed!

www.scriptyourfuture.org

Educating Charleston’s Youth About Safe Medication Practices

As first-year pharmacy students (P1s), we sign the Oath of a Pharmacist when we walk across the stage during the White Coat Ceremony. By signing this document, we are accepting the responsibility of utilizing our knowledge to serve the community. This year, the P1’s had the pleasure of using our knowledge to teach 5th grade students throughout the Charleston area about the dangers of misusing prescription medication by utilizing materials from Generation Rx.

In the past month, more than 6 million Americans ages 12 and older have taken a prescription medication for non-medical reasons. Drug overdose deaths, mainly from prescription medications, is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. Generation Rx’s goal is to educate our youth, college students, other adults in our communities, and seniors about enhancing medication safety in order to prevent them from being another statistic in the future of prescription drug misuse.

UCSOP Class of 2020 students celebrate safe medication use with 5th grade students!

UCSOP Class of 2020 students celebrate safe medication use with 5th grade students!

Being that West Virginia has one of the highest opioid abuse rates in the United States, it is vital to reach out to the children in our state and teach them the importance of using medications correctly while they are young. Our class was split up into twelve groups who would each present to one 5th grade classroom in two hour-long sessions. For the first session, we were given a PowerPoint to present that hit on all the core messages of Generation Rx such as not sharing medications, using medications as directed by a physician, proper medication storage, and being a good role model. In the second session, we were able to incorporate active learning activities for the students.

Overall this experience was truly rewarding. We wore our white coats to the presentations and you could tell the children wanted to hear what we had to say as a result. They were constantly participating and seemed to have fun while going through the PowerPoint. In order to see what information the children had retained, our group decided to play jeopardy with the class during our second session. I was impressed to see great improvements in their answers from our first presentation. It made me feel like we could actually be making a difference. If our presentation can prevent even one student from misusing medication in the future, then it can be considered worthwhile. Generation Rx is a very important organization and I think it is great that our school of pharmacy has become actively engaged with teaching it. I hope to continue partaking in events related to Generation Rx throughout my pharmacy school career.

Contributed by Glenn Schiotis, Vice President Class of 2020