July is Herbal/Prescription Interaction Awareness Month. A common misconception with herbal supplements is that because its “all-natural” it is safe to take. This is especially true for people who may be taking prescription medications. The main purpose of the public health and awareness campaign is to inform the public that herbal supplements can cause potentially dangerous interactions when taken with certain medications. It is also for informing the public that herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA and consistency/quality may differ from one brand to another.
Are Herbal Supplements Safe?1
While herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA as drugs or as foods, they do fall under a category called dietary supplements. It is important to note that the level of regulation and criteria for dietary supplements is not as stringent as it is for food and drug products. The dietary supplement regulations ensure that herbal supplements meet certain quality standards and that the FDA can intervene to remove dangerous products from the market. However, these products can pose unexpected risks because many supplements contain active ingredients that have strong effects in the body. For example, taking a combination of herbal supplements or using supplements together with prescribed medications could lead to harmful, even life-threatening results.
Herbal Supplement Safety Tips
If you’re currently taking prescription medications and thinking about starting an herbal supplement, always talk to your doctor or pharmacist first about possible drug interactions.
Follow supplement instructions
Stick to brands that have been tested by independent sources
Check ConsumerLab.com or U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention (USP)
Keep track of any alerts or advisories. The FDA will notify the public of any supplements that have been reported to cause adverse effects or contain undeclared ingredients.
If you have any additional questions regarding your medications,
reach out to the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742
Memorial Day is approaching and many of you are most likely preparing for weekend travels to see family or friends. We all know the worst part about any vacation is packing. What makes packing even more complicated is packing for air travel. There are a multitude of regulations to keep track of and if you have a chronic condition, the idea of managing your medications can seem overwhelming.
To help you get ready for vacation season, here are a few tips and tricks to keeping your medications safe and organized!
The Medication Screening Process
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires that medications in pill or other solid form must undergo security screening. You can also bring any medically necessary liquids or creams, but they must be screened separately from the rest of your belongings.
To make things easy, the TSA recommends you:
Store medications in clearly labeled containers
Check with state laws regarding prescription medication labels
If you’ve already thrown away your prescription containers, get a letter from your doctor explaining what the medication is and why you need it.
Declare any accessories associated with your liquid medication
If you happen to travel to somewhere in a different time zone, you may need to discuss the time you take your medications with your doctor. If you must take your prescriptions at a certain time, we recommend setting alarms on your phone or watch to help remind you when to take your medications.
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.
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>.
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:
Feel better by getting the intended results from your meds.
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:
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.