Ask a Pharmacist – Allergy Edition

Pharmacist surrounded by different types of medication
Image Source: iStock.com/macrovector

Allergy season is here! To help you out, we’d like to share with you some frequently asked questions and the pharmacists’ answers.

 

How can I tell if I have allergies or just a common cold?

Symptom Cold Allergy
Cough Usually Sometimes
General aches and pains Sometimes Never
Fatigue and weakness Sometimes Sometimes
Itchy eyes Rarely Usually
Sneezing Usually Usually
Sore Throat Usually Rarely
Runny Nose Usually Usually
Stuffy Nose Usually Usually
Fever Sometimes Never

How do steroid nasal sprays work?

Steroid nasal sprays are an effective treatment for most allergy symptoms.  Steroid nasal sprays reduce the allergic response of the cell types that induce allergies, mainly mast cells and eosinophils.   This results in a reduction of runny nose, postnasal drip, nasal congestion, sneezing, and itching.

Do allergy shots work?

Allergy shots are injections you receive at regular intervals over a period of 3-5 years to reduce allergy attacks.  Each allergy shot contains a tiny amount of the substance that trigger your allergic reactions, called allergens.  By adjusting the dose and your exposure to allergens, your immune system builds up tolerance to the allergen and your symptoms diminish over time.

 Can you take allergy pills and nasal spray together?

Yes.  For patients with severe allergy symptoms who cannot achieve symptom resolution with either one by itself, you can combine allergy pills and nasal sprays.  In general, steroid nasal sprays are the single most effective treatment for allergy symptoms, however, if you continue to experience troublesome symptoms with consistent use of a steroid spray you can add an over the counter antihistamine such as generic Claritin (loratadine), generic Zyrtec (cetirizine), or generic Allegra (fexofenadine).

 

Have any other questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk:

1.888.799.8742

Depression’s Impact on Patients with Chronic Disease

zhu liang_unsplash
Image Source: Zhu Liang/Unsplash

According to a RAND corporation study, people who are depressed are less likely to adhere to medications for their chronic health problems than people who are not depressed. Researchers found that patients with depression had 76% greater odds of being non-adherent with their medications compared to those without depression.1 This is a concern since not only do people with chronic illnesses routinely face higher death rates when they have poor medication adherence, the rate of depression itself has been increasing significantly over the years. In the U.S., depression increased from 6.6 percent to 7.3 percent from 2005 to 2015.2

What can Doctors and Providers do?

Dr. Walid F. Gellad, the study’s senior author and a natural scientist a RAND, recommended that “doctors and other providers should periodically ask patients with depression about medication adherence. Also, when treating a patient who is not taking their medication correctly, they should consider the possibility that depression is contributing to the problem.”

How can you help a Friend or Family Member with Depression?

It’s important to learn the symptoms of depression and that they can vary from person to person. You can find a list of symptoms and support recommendations provided by the mayo clinic here. Once you recognize it, the next steps are to:

  • Talk to the person
  • Explain that depression is a medical condition
  • Suggest seeking help from a professional
  • Offer to help prepare a list of questions to discuss in an initial appointment
  • Express your willingness to help

If you or someone you know is struggling, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) at any time for help.

 

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

 

Sources:

  1. The Rand Corporation. (2011, May 10). Depression Associated with Lower Medication Adherence Among Patients with Chronic Disease [Press release]. Retrieved from https://www.rand.org/news/press/2011/05/10.html
  2. Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. “Depression is on the rise in the US, especially among young teens.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 October 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171030134631.htm>.

May is National Employee Health & Fitness Month

Man Running
Image Source: Tikkho Maciel/Unsplash

Employee Health & Fitness Month is a month-long initiative to generate sustainability for a healthy lifestyle and initiate healthy activities on an ongoing basis. Wellness programs have been shown to benefit employees by lowering stress levels, increasing well-being, self-image, and self-esteem, improving physical fitness, increasing stamina, increasing job satisfaction, and potentially reducing weight.

How Can Your Company Participate?

There are a lot of different options, here are a few ideas to get you started:

–          Start a walking club around your office

–          Create an after-hours recreational team

–          Host a step contest and award top employees with prizes

Don’t forget to also encourage employees to explore all their wellness options available through their health care plan. A lot of organizations provide additional incentives that help encourage employees to improve their health year-round.

Tria Health and Wellness

Tria Health is consistently working to improve patient health through one-on-one confidential counseling with a pharmacist. Consultations with a pharmacist help to ensure your medications are working the way they are supposed to work to improve your overall well-being. Tria Health will help you:

  • Save Money
  • Feel better by getting the intended results from your meds.
  • Spend less time at the doctor’s office!

 

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

National Drug Take Back Day is 4/28!

Close up of assorted pills and prescriptions
Image Source: iStock.com/klenova

Disposing of medications safely can help protect your family from getting or using medications that are expired or out of date; prevent the illegal use of unused medications and minimize any potential negative impact on the environment. For this reason, the DEA is giving the public an opportunity to dispose of unwanted and/or expired prescription drugs. This is a FREE and anonymous service—take medications back, no questions asked!

Where do I go?

Visit the DEA’s website to find a collection site:

https://apps.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubdispsearch/spring/main?execution=e1s1

Why can’t I throw out my medications at home?

Unfortunately, there are a lot of harmful myths floating around regarding medication disposal. Many people will try to flush their medications down the toilet or crush their medicines before throwing them in the trash. Flushing can end up polluting our waters and crushing medicines can put trash handlers at risk of exposure if the drug were to encounter their skin or if they were to breathe in the dust. Medicine take back programs are the best way to dispose of unwanted medicine.

 How can Tria Health Help?

As a member of Tria Health, if you have multiple medications and are afraid you’ll throw away the wrong medication, we can provide additional assistance in selecting the proper medications. Tria provides one-on-one consultations with a clinical pharmacist who assists you with your medication management.

 Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

 

Roseanne and the Reality of Medication Costs

Roseanne & Dan Trade Their Medicine
Video Source: Celeb Interview | Roseanne Episode 10×01 Roseanne & Dan Trade Their Medicine || Roseanne Scenes

In the revival premiere, Roseanne and Dan struggle to afford their medications and opt to split to get by. This issue is likely occurring in many households today due to the ever-increasing prices of prescription medications. According to the CDC, nearly 1 in 10 adults skip medications due to costs.1 This isn’t surprising when you learn that deductible spending has risen 250% while copayments have declined 36%.2

What Can You Do to Save Money on Medications?

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services suggests the following ways patients can save money on drugs:

  • Take generic or other lower-cost medications,
  • Choose an insurance plan that has additional drug coverage,
  • Consider drug assistance plans offered by pharmacies and states,
  • Apply to Medicare and Social Security for help reducing costs,
  • Apply to community-based charities for help with medication costs.

How does Tria Help with Medication Savings?

If you take multiple medications and have a chronic condition, Tria Health provides private telephonic consultations with a pharmacist. Your Tria Health pharmacist will help identify clinically effective and lower cost medications. Members have on average saved up to $210 per year by switching medications.

Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

 

SOURCES:

  1. Robin Cohen, Ph.D.; health statistician; Maria Villarroel, Ph.D., chief, special projects branch, both National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director, Yale University Prevention Research Center, New Haven, Conn.; Jan. 29, 2015, report, Strategies Used by Adults to Reduce Their Prescription Drug Costs: United States, 2013
  2. Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of Truven Health Analytics MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database, 2005-2015