Pharmacists do so much more than dispense medicine. They have a wealth of knowledge to assist patients with safe medication use, potential drug interactions, preventative services and over-the-counter medications. Today is National Pharmacist Day, a day to recognize the importance of pharmacists and how they impact our health.
Why National Pharmacist Day is Important
This day honors more than 300,000 pharmacists for the significant role they play in effective medication management, patient education and overall medication safety.
A pharmacist can look at all your prescription medications as a whole to determine if your medications are safe, appropriate and effective to manage your health condition(s). They may also be able to assess if you are taking medications you no longer need, if you have therapy duplication, if you are missing a certain medication that is proven to help your specific condition(s), or if you are taking something that could potentially be harmful to your health. Pharmacists may also be able to suggest alternative drug options to lessen side effects or reduce your drug costs.
Pharmacists play a major role in monitoring or managing multiple chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, weight loss, and tobacco use.
How Pharmacists Can Help You
Providing guidance on preventative services: More than 300,000 immunization-trained pharmacists administer vaccines, and nearly one in four adults receive their influenza vaccinations at their community pharmacy?1 Pharmacists can provide guidance on all vaccine-preventable diseases and which immunizations are best for you.
Talking with you about your medicine. They help minimize side effects and safeguard against any possible interactions with other medications that lead to more expensive health care costs such as emergency room visits, hospitalization, etc.
Coordinating care with your physician. Pharmacists are the best resource to optimize medication use and provide care coordination with physicians. For patients with chronic conditions, care coordination is especially helpful for adjusting prescriptions and medication management accordingly.
How Tria Health Pharmacists Can Help
Tria Health was founded on the belief that pharmacists play a vital role in the management of high-risk patients that drive most of the health care spend. If you have one or more chronic conditions and take multiple medications, Tria Health has a Pharmacy Advocate Program available for you. The PA program offers one-on-one confidential counseling with a Tria Pharmacist to discuss how effective your medications are in treating your conditions. Your Tria Pharmacist will work with you and your physicians to reduce the risk of medication-related problems.
The CDC considers vaccinations to be one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century.1-3 Thanks to vaccines, the incidence, morbidity, mortality, and prevalence of vaccine-preventable diseases have considerably diminished since vaccinations became available. However, now that the COVID-19 vaccine has finally arrived, consumers are wondering whether it will be safe.
If you are having COVID-19 vaccine hesitation, know that the FDA has considered the vaccine adequately safe and effective. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccine have both received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA for public use. To further ease any vaccine fears, below is information about vaccine safety, facts and myths about the COVID-19 vaccine and the benefit vaccines have on your health.
How the COVID-19 Vaccine works
This new vaccine works unlike any previous vaccinations, using a molecule called messenger RNA (mRNA) in a mechanism researchers have been developing for over 30 years. When infected with COVID-19, the virus uses a “spike protein” to attach and enter human cells. The vaccine uses mRNA to provide the body with a blueprint which stimulates human cells to make their own version of a spike protein (not the real virus) that triggers the immune system to make antibodies against it. Once the body makes antibodies against this synthetic spike protein, the body will be able to recognize the actual COVID-19 viral protein and quickly fight the real virus before it attaches to human cells and causes harm.
Herd immunity is when a large portion of a community (herd) becomes immune to a disease, lessening the spread of the disease from person to person. Current research shows that the development of natural immunity in people who have previously built-up antibodies from COVID-19 is not going to be enough to cause herd immunity within the community. Not everyone with a previous COVID-19 diagnosis is developing natural antibodies which protect against the spread of the virus, and those who do develop antibodies may begin to lose them over time. Therefore, routine vaccination against COVID-19 is essential to prevent living through another pandemic a year full of face masks and social distancing. Vaccines will first be prioritized to high-risk populations, including healthcare personnel and long-term care facilities. Recommendations suggest 2 shots into the muscle of the upper arm 3-4 weeks apart depending on the manufacturer (Pfizer vs Moderna). Per the FDA, available data currently shows receiving 2 doses of the vaccine is between 90.3% to 97.6% effective at preventing COVID-19.
The benefits vaccines have on health
There are two main benefits for vaccination:
You can help lower your chance of getting certain disease
Hepatitis B vaccine lowers your risk of liver cancer.
HPV vaccine lowers your risk of cervical cancer.
Flu vaccine lowers your risk of flu-related heart attacks or other flu-related complications from existing health conditions like diabetes and chronic lung disease.
You can lower your chance of spreading disease.
Some people in your family or community may not be able to get certain vaccines due to their age or health condition. They rely on you to help prevent the spread of disease.
Infants, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems (like those undergoing cancer treatment) are especially vulnerable to infectious disease.10
Facts surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine
There is now an authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccination in the Unites States and many people are concerned about its safety. It is crucial to make sure you are getting accurate information about the vaccination. Below are FACTS from the CDC about COVID-19 vaccines:
The COVID-19 vaccine will not give you COVID-19. It is not a traditional vaccination, currently none of the COVID-19 vaccines use the live virus that causes COVID-19. This vaccination helps our bodies fight the virus without us having to get the illness.
Even if you have gotten sick with COVID-19, you may benefit from getting vaccinated. Re-infection is possible; therefore, it is advised to get a vaccination even if you have had COVID-19 before.
Right now, there is a limited supply of the vaccine in the United States, but more will come in the following weeks and months.
Getting a vaccine that uses mRNA will not change your DNA. The COVID-19 vaccine contains mRNA or messenger ribonucleic acid which is best described as instructions for how to make a protein. It is important to know that that mRNA is not able to alter a person’s DNA. The mRNA from the COVID-19 vaccine will not enter the nucleus of the cell, where our DNA is found.
Myths surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine
There is a lot of misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccination. Below are MYTHS about the vaccine:
Other immunizations such as the flu shot will prevent COVID-19.
Infertility or other serious medical problems will occur if you get the COVID-19 vaccine.
You will get a positive COVID-19 viral test if you get the COVID-19 vaccine.
There will not be enough vaccinations for everyone.
Vaccines are both safe and effective. They go through years of testing before the FDA licenses them for use. Both the CDC and FDA continue to track the safety of all licensed vaccines.6 The CDC tracks the safety of vaccinations through The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). VAERS was created in 1990 to detect any potential safety issues with U.S. vaccines. If anyone experiences problems after an immunization, they can submit a report to VAERS. This monitoring system makes it possible to spot any unusual side effects from vaccinations as well as identify any risks for health issues related to vaccinations. If you are ever concerned about the safety of immunizations, you can have peace of mind knowing they are constantly being monitored.9
Below are the facts and figures that show the safety and effectiveness of vaccinations:
According to the World Health Organization, immunizations prevent 2-3 million deaths every year from vaccine-preventable diseases.5
Most childhood vaccinations are 90% to 99% effective in preventing diseases.7
The flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60%.6
The CDC estimates that immunizations will prevent more than 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children born in the last 20 years.8
About 85-90% of vaccine side effects are mild and not serious.9
How Pharmacists can Help
Pharmacists are also in a unique position to identify those patients who are in target groups for certain vaccinations. They may also be able to ease the fears of many patients by providing them with facts such as clinical data and by dispelling common misconceptions and myths about vaccinations; they can also stress the significant risks associated with not being vaccinated.4
Tria Health was founded on the belief that pharmacists play a vital role in the management of high-risk patients. With Tria, you have the option of receiving a one-on-one private consultation with one of Tria Health’s pharmacists over the phone. During your consultation, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins, supplements and lifestyle habits. Your pharmacist will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding vaccinations.
Oldfield BJ, Stewart RW. Common misconceptions, advancements, and updates in pediatric vaccine administration. South Med J. 2016;109(1):38-41. doi: 10.14423/SMJ.0000000000000399.
Ventola CL. Immunization in the United States: recommendations, barriers, and measures to improve compliance: part 2: adult vaccinations. P T. 2016;41(8):492-506.
Temoka E. Becoming a vaccine champion: evidence-based interventions to address the challenges of vaccination. S D Med. 2013;(theme issue): 68-72.
Thanksgiving can be a challenging time of the year for the millions of Americans who live with diabetes. All the carb-filled, sugary foods can cause blood sugar to spike. However, if you have diabetes you do not have to skip out on all the delicious dishes. Below are tasty diabetes-friendly Thanksgiving recipes!
Treat yourself this holiday season without having to worry! It is important to remember to eat in moderation and set reminders for testing blood sugar. All of us at Tria Health are wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving! Be safe, be well and cheers to a healthier YOU!
Have any questions for us?
Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742
Diabetes is a health condition that affects how the body turns food into energy. Most of the food we eat is broken down into glucose (sugar) which gives the body energy to function. When blood sugar goes up the pancreas releases insulin to allow the blood sugar to be used as energy. If the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, diabetes occurs.
Symptoms of diabetes include:
Wounds that take a long time to heal
Types of Diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction that stops your body from making insulin. About 5% of the people with diabetes have type 1. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often develop quickly. It is usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults. Those with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day to survive. Currently, no one knows how to prevent type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is when the body does not use insulin well and is unable to keep blood sugar at normal levels. Most people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. It develops over many years and is usually diagnosed in adults. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes.
Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Gestational Diabetes develops in pregnant women who have never had diabetes. If you have gestational diabetes, your baby could be at higher risk for health complications. Gestational diabetes is typically cured after your baby is born, but this increases your risk for type 2 diabetes later in life. Your baby is more likely to become obese as a child or teen, and more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
If you currently are diagnosed or have been recently diagnosed with diabetes, Tria Health can assist you in managing your medications and finding a treatment plan that works for you. Diabetes is a disease that can be managed and prevented if you know what to do. At Tria Health our pharmacists are certified diabetes educators (CDEs). They educate patients on medication management, diet and exercise so patients with diabetes can live happy and active lives and reduce the risk of serious health complications. For employers that offer Tria Health’s Diabetes Management Program, Tria provides free diabetes testing supplies including a blood glucose meter, testing strips, and a mobile app designed to help you manage your diabetes better.
Metformin Hydrochloride Extended Release Tablets are being recalled for having more carcinogen NDMA than the FDA’s acceptable allowance. NDMA is classified as a probable human carcinogen (a substance that could cause cancer) based on results from laboratory tests. NDMA is a known environmental contaminant found in water and foods, including meats, dairy products, and vegetables.1 With levels above admissible according to the FDA it is being recalled ensuring no adverse reactions arise during consumption. If any adverse reactions are experienced you can submit them online here or find more information on how to mail or fax here. Many different retailers might be involved so it is important to check your label and bottle.
What products are being recalled?
Metformin HCl Extended Release Tablets, USP, 500 mg and 750 mg, manufactured by Amneal, are being recalled. They are the prescription, solid oral products that are indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.1
The Metformin Hydrochloride Extended Release Tablets, USP, 500 mg and 750 mg, subject to the recall, are identified by the NDC numbers stated on the product label.
Because Metformin is used to treat serious medical conditions, patients taking the recalled Metformin should continue taking their medicine until they have a replacement product.
To determine whether a specific product has been recalled, patients should look at the drug name and company name on the label of their prescription bottle. If the information is not on the bottle, patients should contact the pharmacy that dispensed the medicine.
Patients should also contact their health care professional (the pharmacist who dispensed the medication or doctor who prescribed the medication) if their medicine is included in this recall to discuss their treatment, which may include another product not affected by this recall or an alternative treatment option.