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 – The Importance of Cholesterol Medications

Script Your FutureCholesterol is a type of fat that is naturally made in our bodies and can be found in various foods. The problem with cholesterol arises when we have too much of it in our blood vessels, causing a plaque to form. This plaque can impede blood flow to the heart leading to a heart attack or stroke. When a person has high cholesterol, whether its elevated LDL, elevated triglycerides, or low HDL, they are often completely unaware of it. High cholesterol often presents without any symptoms, and can be left unnoticed for many years. Fortunately, a simple blood test can determine what your cholesterol level is.

If your doctor tells you that you have high cholesterol, there are a few things you can do to manage this condition. Lifestyle modifications like increasing exercise to at least 30 minutes/day and eating a heart-healthy diet are great ways to get your cholesterol back at goal (total cholesterol <200). If this does not work, however, there are medications you can take to lower your cholesterol. The most popular class of cholesterol medications are referred to as “statins” (i.e. pravastatin, atorvastatin, rosuvastatin, simvastatin, etc.). These medications have proven to be effective in managing cholesterol levels and are used by many patients. Other common cholesterol-lowering drugs include bile acid sequestrants, niacin, fibrates, and omega-3-fatty acids. Although these medication classes work in slightly different ways, they all lower blood cholesterol to some degree.

The problem with these medications is that many people do not “feel” like they are making a difference in their health. This can cause patients to stop taking their cholesterol medications as they are prescribed, or stop taking them all together. It is important for all patients to be educated about how important cholesterol medications are to their health. Even though you may not physically feel any different from taking cholesterol medicine, it could very well be saving your life by preventing plaques from building up in your vessels and causing a heart attack. It is so important to take these medications as directed by your physician, especially for patients with other chronic health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. So take the pledge to take your cholesterol medicine today at http://www.ucwv.edu/pharmacy!

For more information about cholesterol medications visit http://www.fda.gov/downloads/ForConsumers/ByAudience/ForWomen/FreePublications/UCM179918.pdf

Pharmacogenetic Testing: Determining What Medications Are Right for You!

Have you ever been prescribed a medication that just did not work for you? Have you ever experienced a negative medication side effect that someone else on the same medication did not?

If yes, you may be able to thank your DNA.

Every human has his/her own, unique set of genetic code. This uniqueness or variation within our genes causes medications to be activated and metabolized differently, causing different effects on the human body. Some of these genetic variations can impact an individual’s response to their medications.

Pharmacogenetic (PGx) testing, usually done with a simple cheek swab, is used by healthcare professionals to determine which genetic variations are predominant within each patient. This information is then used to understand the patient’s response to certain medications. PGx alleviates the need for trial and error in the treatment of patients, and offers a way to strategically target therapies based on an individual’s genetic code.

Employing PGx testing gives healthcare providers the ability to screen medications before initiating therapy. This helps patients avoid drugs they will not even be able to process and/or metabolize well, and instead it provides their provider insight on what medications will work from the beginning. This can help accelerate the benefits from medications, reduce wasted time, reduce expenses for ineffective medications, and possibly even save lives.

References:

  1. Rxight. (2016). Why is PGx Testing Important? Retrieved January 10, 2017, from Rxight: Right Medicine, Right From The Start. http://rxight.com.

    Contributed by: Rebekah Dunham, Class of 2017

Cycling Event Held at UC to Promote Cardiovascular Health

Contributed by Brandon Gray, Class of 2019

Cardiovascular health is an extremely important component of leading a long, enjoyable life. Unfortunately, West Virginia has been inadequate in this category for several years. For example, West Virginia is the third highest state in the country in terms of “Fair and Poor Health Status”, “Physical Inactivity”, and “Obesity” (1). Individuals who do not take care of his/her cardiovascular health can develop cardiovascular disease, which is commonly known as heart disease. When looking at gender, it was shown that heart disease was the cause of death in 22.8% of males and 22.2% of females in 2011(2). However, this can easily be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle, and managing cardiovascular health risks consistently and effectively. Conditions that can lead to heart disease include: atherosclerosis (plaque build-up on the artery walls), heart failure (when the heart is unable to efficiently pump blood to the entire body), and narrowing of the heart valves causing blood flow to be restricted. Keeping a healthy heart will increase one’s life expectancy as well as increase their quality of life.

screen-shot-2017-01-16-at-11-10-20-am

Cyclers on UC’s campus!

The UCSOP Student Chapter of The American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) held a cycling event to educate the public about the importance of cardiovascular health. Cycling has been shown to bring countless benefits to an individuals heart health, as well as overall health including: strengthening the heart muscles, strengthening bones and muscles, lowering the resting pulse, reducing blood fat levels, reducing body weight, decreasing blood pressure, increasing good cholesterol (HDL), decreasing bad cholesterol (LDL), reducing stress and anxiety, improving mood, etc (3). This event was a great opportunity to show the community how critical it is to have a healthy heart, and what benefits come with cardiovascular health. The cycling event had a wonderful turn out. Several members of the University of Charleston campus and Charleston community attended the event to spread awareness of heart disease and the several life-threatening problems that are associated with it. Every individual that came out and expressed their support and concern, will now be able to educate others about heart disease and how/why it is a growing tragedy in West Virginia. The goal of this event was to educate others on how heart disease can be improved and/or prevented with fun physical activities such as cycling.

References

  1. Fast Facts. (2016). wv.gov. Retrieved 17 October 2016, from http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/hpcd/data_reports/Pages/Fast-Facts.aspx
  2. Frequently Requested Statistics. (2016). org. Retrieved 17 October 2016, from http://www.wvdhhr.org/bph/hsc/Statserv/Stat_Triv.asp
  3. Health Benefits of Cycling | Organic Facts. (2013). Organic Facts. Retrieved 17 October 2016, from https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/other/health-benefits-of-cycling.html
  4. Myers, J. (2003). Exercise and Cardiovascular Health. Circulation, 107(1), e2-e5. Retrieved from http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/107/1/e2

Minority Representation & Underserved Patients

Contributed By: Glorisel Cruz, Class of 2018, SNPhA Vice President

The Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) was founded in 1972.1 SNPhA’s mission is to bring pharmacy students together “who are concerned about pharmacy and healthcare related issues, and the poor minority representation in pharmacy and other health-related professions.”1 But why is it so important to focus on minority representation and the underserved in our health care system? It is estimated that “by 2020 more than half of the nation’s children will be of an ethnic or racial minority; by 2050, African American/Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians will comprise the majority of the population.”2 With this comes the inevitable question of whether our pharmacy profession is equipped to meet their health care needs.

Most pharmacy students mention helping people as one of the main reasons they aspire to be a pharmacist. Part of a pharmacy schools’ job is to help their students be competent in helping everyone, underserved or not. One of the ways pharmacy school helps students achieve this is by having “diversity in faculty and staff members and curriculum [to help] foster a culturally competent and diverse student population, which in turn impacts the quality of care provided to patients.”2 The problem is that having diverse faculty and staff members may not be as easy. Angela Hagan and colleagues compared racial and ethnic representation in pharmacy schools’ staff in comparison with the US Census Bureau data in their article The Racial and Ethnic Representation of Faculty in US Pharmacy Schools and Colleges. 2 They found that “Asian faculty representation was more than double in pharmacy than in higher education.” 2 It wasn’t the same for the other minorities and their representation in the pharmacy faculty. According to the same article, when compared to medical and dental schools, there was a higher representation of African Americans/Black faculty. 2 The program that had a better representation of Hispanic faculty was the dental program when compared to other programs. 2 Having diverse representation among the faculty of pharmacy schools can help “staff and other service providers have the requisite attitudes, knowledge, and skills for delivering culturally competent care.” 3 Therefore, having diverse faculty in pharmacy programs should be one of the main goals of a school.

Underserved populations also include those with low-economic status, “patients with medical disabilities or chronic illness,” those who are “confined to long-term care facilities,” “patients with limited literacy,” and anyone who lives in “geographically isolated or medically underserved areas.”4 Around 62 million people in the United States are part of the underserved population. 5 For example, West Virginia, alone, has 49 counties out of a total of 55 counties, which are considered underserved. 5 There are different methods that West Virginia has implemented to help its people, such as free clinics. 5 Pharmacists have a major role in helping underserved patients get better health care. SNPhA members, along with many other organizations, are helping by setting up health fairs which provide free services to underserved patients, such as blood pressure and blood glucose screenings, A1c testing, and various educational programs

References:

  1. About – SNPhA. Accessed: November 25, 2016. https://snpha.org/about/
  2. Hagan AM, Campbell HE, Gaither CA. The Racial and Ethnic Representation of Faculty in US Pharmacy Schools and Colleges. Am J Pharm Educ. 2016;80(6).
  3. Missing Persons: Minorities in the Health Professions. The Sullivan Commission. 2004:1-208. Accessed: November 24, 2016. http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/SullivanReport.pdf.
  4. Dental Pipeline: Who Are “Underserved Patients”? Accessed: November 25, 2016.http://www.dentalpipeline.org/elements/community-based/pe_underserved.html
  5. Mallow JA, Theeke LA, Long DM, Whetsel T, Theeke E, Mallow BK. Study protocol: mobile improvement of self-management ability through rural technology (mI SMART). Springerplus. 2015;4(1):423. doi:10.1186/s40064-015-1209-y.

CPFI & ACCP Join Together for Trunk-or-Treat Event

Christian Pharmacist Fellowship International (CPFI) and American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) participated in the Trunk-or-Treat event at the Kroger in South Charleston on October 29th for American Pharmacist Month. The overarching theme of this event was the promotion of The Teal Pumpkin Project. The Teal Pumpkin Project was launched as a national campaign by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) in 2014.

FARE's Teal Pumpkin Project

FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project

FARE’s mission is to “improve the quality of life and health of individuals with food allergies, and to provide them hope through the promise of new treatments.” The idea of this project is to allow every child (with or without food allergies) to experience the tradition of trick-or-treating on Halloween, but in a safe way. At these events only non-food treats are offered such as glow sticks or small toys. In 2015, households from all 50 states and 14 countries participated. To take part in your home next Halloween—just place a teal pumpkin at your doorstep and FARE provides free printable signs to explain the meaning.

At this event, CPFI’s trunk theme was football, while ACCP decided to be superheroes. We provided the children glow sticks, fake insects, plastic jewels, and “Mr. Yuk” stickers. The “Mr. Yuk” stickers allowed us to explain to parents that it’s important to keep dangerous household (cleaning supplies, medications, insect repellants, etc) items away from their children. An easy way to do this is by placing a “Mr. Yuk” sticker on those items to alert the child that it is unsafe. As kids came to our trunk, we played beanbag toss, bowling, and other fun games. A member of CPFI also made a poster for American Pharmacist Month and this helped us to explain why UC students were participating in this trunk-or-treat.

CPFI & ACCP Students at the Trunk-or-Treat event.

CPFI & ACCP Students at the Trunk-or-Treat event.

The poster opened up conversation about the importance of recognizing food allergies and how pharmacists can play a role in their allergy management. Those with food allergies are not only affected by what they can or cannot eat, but they must also be cautious about what medications they take as well. Although many people are unaware, some medications are made from food-sources. Examples of some medications made with foods include: inhalers made with peanuts and flu shots made with eggs. It is important to mention all allergies to doctors and/or pharmacists to avoid any dangerous reactions.

Over 200 kids came to the event and we were able to talk to many of their parents about household and medication safety. With this being such a success, we hope to continue participating and make this an annual CPFI tradition.

For more information about FARE’s project, you can visit foodallegy.org/teal-pumpkin-project.

Contributed by Sydney Sowell, CPFI Secretary, Class of 2019

UCSOP Hosts DEA 360 Strategy Meeting

Exciting things are happening at UCSOP, in the Charleston community, and around the state of West Virginia! On January 25, 2017, UCSOP hosted the DEA 360 Strategy Meeting for Charleston, WV. This meeting served as the kick-off event in the 6th city for this nationwide initiative. The DEA 360 program focuses on heroin, prescription drugs, and violence within our communities. screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-2-04-33-pm

DEA 360 utilizes a three-fold approach to fight the drug epidemic in its pilot cities. This approach focuses on diversion control, law enforcement, and community outreach working together to make our cities safe and free of drugs! The ultimate goals of the 360 Strategy are to stop the deadly cycle of heroin and opioid drug abuse and addiction, partner with the medical community to increase awareness about the link between heroin and opioid use, and to strengthen community organizations to provide long-term support for this initiative.The basic components of the strategy are outlined below:

  • Coordinated Law Enforcement Operations: Focuses on DEA leadership with coordinated local law enforcement actions targeting all levels of drug trafficking, organizations, and violent gangs supplying drugs in our neighborhoods.
  • Enhanced Diversion Control: Increases engagement from drug manufacturers, wholesalers, practitioners, and pharmacists to increase awareness of the heroin and prescription drug problem. Pushes for responsible prescribing practices and safe use of these medications throughout the medical community.
  • Building Community Partnerships:  Community outreach and partnerships with local organizations following DEA enforcement actions to equip and empower communities with the tools to fight the heroin and prescription drug epidemic. Focuses on young people through after school programs, education, and media attention to this issue.

Overall, 200+ people from DEA (both local divisions and DEA Headquarters in Washington DC), community groups and organizations in Charleston, along with UCSOP faculty, staff, and student pharmacists attended the meeting! Be on the lookout for local television and radio adds about the program as well as a website designed specifically for our Charleston community. It’s time to “Wake Up Charleston”!

UCSOP Faculty and Students host a luncheon for DEA representatives after the meeting!

UCSOP Faculty and Students host a luncheon for DEA representatives after the meeting!

 

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 – Smoking Cessation

Script Your Future

For many years, tobacco use has been the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and around the world. West Virginia is no exception. In fact, West Virginia ranks as one of the highest tobacco-using states in the country. Over 3,500 people die in WV each year from tobacco-related causes – this averages to about 10 persons per day dying from tobacco exposure. With that being said, our population of pregnant women who smoke is alarmingly high as well. According to the 2016 WV DHHR Report, 24.2% of pregnant women smoke in WV. Although this number has slightly decreased from recent years, WV continues to remain significantly above the the national average of 8.2%.

Not only does smoking increase mortality, it can also pose serious threats to one’s overall health as well. First and second-hand smoke have both been linked to worsening lung function and increasing respiratory disease in those exposed. Furthermore, smoking has been linked to cause and/or worsen gum disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma, COPD, emphysema, and diabetes complications. For pregnant women who smoke, the risks are even higher. Smoking during pregnancy contributes to premature birth, birth defects, and infant death. If these physical negative effects are not enough, smoking-related illnesses costs over $300 billion dollars each year with nearly $170 billion of that being in direct medical costs. The combination of physical and economical detriments of smoking are clear reasons as to why smoking cessation is so important.

When a person stops smoking, the positive effects on their bodies begin almost instantaneously. Smoking cessation improves blood pressure, circulation, and lung function, to name a few. The good news is that it is never too late to quit! There are numerous resources available for those interested in smoking cessation. WV has several organizations who dedicate their time and efforts to smoking cessation in our communities, as well. Furthermore, doctors, pharmacists, and other health care professionals have the ability and knowledge to educate patients about the benefits of smoking cessation and how to get connected with the proper resources. UCSOP and the Script Your Future campaign encourages all persons to quit smoking and become educated on the risks it poses to your cardiovascular and respiratory health, especially.

If you or a loved one are interested in quitting smoking, you can visit www.wvquitline.com or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

You can also take the pledge to quit smoking at www.scriptyourfuture.org.

1-800-QUIT-NOW

References:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/index.html
  2. http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/News/2016/Pages/Rates-of-Smoking-during-Pregnancy-Show-Strong-Signs-of-Decline.aspx
  3. http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/wvdtp/Documents/DTP%202015%20Progress%20Report.pdf