The Benefits of Telemedicine

Image Source: Hal Gatewood/Unsplash

With the spread of COVID-19 on the rise, the need to social distance is especially necessary if you are considered high risk for severe illness. Since staying home is the only way to ensure you stay healthy telecommunication has never been more necessary and helpful. This pandemic has sparked a surge in telemedicine, telehealth and online resources to offer various health-related services remotely.1

How Can Telepharmacy Help?

Appropriately trained and equipped pharmacists can use telepharmacy to provide pharmaceutical care over the phone. With the use of telepharmacy, pharmacists can improve patient access to care, provide credible information and awareness (eg, hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette, remind patients to get influenza vaccine), enable successful comprehensive medication management, provide recommendations for symptom management, and help triage and refer patients to higher levels of care when diagnostic testing is warranted.

Tria Health utilizes pharmacists to provide these services over the phone with success in outreaching to high risk patients, improving patient health and helping them find ways to reduce costs.

Patient Success with COVID-19

Tria Health provides chronic condition management, meaning many of our patients are at a higher risk for COVID-19, so Tria Health’s pharmacists have been actively educating engaged patients on risk factors, medication safety and prevention techniques. With Tria Health’s telephonic capabilities, we are actively engaging to ensure the health and wellness of our members. Take for example these two patient experiences:

A 64-year-old patient with heart failure could not afford one of their critical medications. As a result, they were going to their cardiologist office every 2-3 weeks to get samples. In the midst of COVID-19, these office visits were exposing the patient to unnecessary risk with frequent trips to their doctor. The Tria Health pharmacist was able to sign the patient up for a manufacturer coupon at an affordable copay. In addition, Tria Health had the prescription sent to a pharmacy with a drive through pick up to allow for appropriate social distancing for this high-risk individual.

A 43-year-old patient with asthma was extremely anxious about their underlying asthma and their risk for COVID-19. The patient informed their Tria Health pharmacist that they were worried about distinguishing their asthma symptoms from possible COVID-19 symptoms. The Tria Health pharmacist educated the patient about the difference in symptoms and how to monitor themselves. The pharmacist stressed the important components of hand hygiene and social distancing.  The patient was incredibly appreciative for this information and felt much less anxious with their improved knowledge.

Tria Health is providing additional communication and outreach to stress the importance of good health management and inform members that Tria’s pharmacists are a valuable and convenient resource during this current health crisis. Tria Health is committed to assisting members with any questions they may have about their medications, risk factors or ways they can mitigate their risk. 1.888.799.8742.

Sources:

  1. https://www.drugtopics.com/latest/telehealth-services-online-resources-aim-enhance-health-care-amid-covid-19-pandemic

COVID-19 and Ibuprofen (NSAIDs) Safety

Image Source: WHO

Unfortunately, with the spread of Coronavirus, the spread of misinformation has increased. It’s understandable to have anxiety with this current climate, but it’s also important to look to validated resources when searching for answers. One common claim we’ve seen spread as of late, is regarding the use of ibuprofen (NSAID) and having COVID-19.

Is It Dangerous to Take Ibuprofen to Treat COVID-19?

Both the World Health Organization and the FDA are currently unaware of existing evidence connecting the use of NSAIDS (Ibuprofen) with worsening COVID-19 symptoms. The FDA will continue to investigate the issue and report their findings when available.2 If patients are concerned, but require NSAIDs to manage their conditions, we recommend speaking with a health care provider and identify a possible alternative.2 While NSAIDs are not reported to worsen COVID-19 symptoms, it’s important to note that they do reduce inflammation and fever, which may diminish the utility of diagnostic signs in detecting infections.  

What’s the Current Verdict? Overall, no direct recommendation for use of NSAIDs for COVID-19 symptoms until more evidence becomes available.2

Tria Health’s Pharmacists can Answer Your Questions

Tria Health is a no cost benefit available through select members’ health plans. Tria Health’s pharmacists are here to talk with patients about their risk factors for COVID-19 and ways they can mitigate risk. We are here to support all our members in their time of need. If you have any medication or COVID-19 related questions, please call our help desk at 1.888.799.874

Sources:

  1. https://www.facebook.com/WHO/posts/2993742374004459
  2. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-advises-patients-use-non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory-drugs-nsaids-covid-19

National Pharmacists Month

Image Source: mohamed_hassan/pixabay

Happy National Pharmacists Month! The goal of this month is to recognize pharmacists for the significant role they play in effective medication management, patient education and overall medication safety. Learn more about how pharmacists can help you every day.

Safe and Effective Medication Use

Pharmacists help ensure that medications control conditions the right way. They help minimize any 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.

Preventative Services

Did you know that 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.

OTCs and Supplements

Pharmacists are experts in prescription medications, supplements and over the counter medications. They can tell you about potential interactions with foods, other drugs, or dietary supplements. And they can help you pick the perfect product. With over 100,000 over-the-counter products on the market, your pharmacist is always there to lend a helping hand!1

Condition Management

Did you know that pharmacists are experts and more than just medications?  They are trained and educated in how to manage conditions as a whole. Tria Health has pharmacists who are certified diabetic educators on staff.  This allows them to treat the person rather than the medication.  They focus on non-pharmacy and pharmacy strategies to accomplish control of a disease.

Tria Health’s Pharmacists

Tria Health was founded on the belief that pharmacists play a vital role in the management of high-risk patients that drive the majority of health care spend. If Tria Health is currently a part of your healthcare plan, call the Tria Health Help desk today for any of your medication-related questions.

Tria Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

Source: http://67.222.18.91/~aphm/pharmacists-can-help/

Zantac (ranitidine) Recall

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting health care professionals and patients to a voluntary recall of over-the-counter (OTC) ranitidine tablets (75 mg and 150 mg), labeled by Walgreens, Walmart, and Rite-Aid and manufactured by Apotex Corp. This medication is being recalled due to low levels of a nitrosamine impurity. The agency encourages patients and health care professionals to report any adverse reaction to the FDA’s MedWatch program.

Why is it being recalled?

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 and found in water and foods, including meats, dairy products and vegetables.

What products are recalled?

The affected Ranitidine Hydrochloride Capsule can be identified by NDC numbers stated on the product label. The affected Sandoz Ranitidine includes 30 count, 60 count and 500 count bottles in the following lots. The product can be identified by the NDC number and lot number provided above. Sandoz Ranitidine Hydrochloride Capsules were distributed nationwide to wholesalers.

Patient Information

  • FDA is not recommending individuals stop taking all ranitidine medicines at this time.
  • Consumers taking OTC ranitidine could consider using other OTC products approved for their condition.
  • Patients taking prescription ranitidine who wish to discontinue use should talk to their health care professional about other treatment options. Multiple drugs are approved for the same or similar uses as ranitidine.

Need help?

Contact your Tria Health pharmacist today for additional assistance with the recall process: 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-updates-and-press-announcements-ndma-zantac-ranitidine
  2. https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/sandoz-inc-issues-voluntary-recall-ranitidine-hydrochloride-capsules-150mg-and-300mg-due-elevate

Sunburn Easily? It Might be Your Medications

Image Source: Harry Knight/Unsplash

We’re all aware that most medications can have a variety of side effects, but did you know that one of them can be an increased sensitivity to the sun? There are a multitude of medications that can increase your risk of sunburn or even cause photosensitivity. Summer is here, so be sure you’re prepared to stay safe in the sun!

How can a medication increase your sensitivity to the sun?1

Photosensitivity is a reaction set off by the sun’s ultraviolet rays and can result in two different reactions.

  • Phototoxic Reaction: Occurs when UV radiation reacts with a drug to form compounds that damage the skin.
    • Results: Sunburn-like symptoms
  • Photoallergic Reaction: This is less common, but usually happens when UV light changes a substance applied to the skin, causing an immune response.
    • Results: Bumps, hives, blisters, or red blotches

What are some common drugs that cause sunburns?

  • Antibiotics
  • Antiarrhythmics (cardiac drugs)
  • Diuretics (used to treat hypertension, heart failure or edema)
  • NSAID (Ibuprofen or naproxen)
  • Acne Medications

For a detailed list, click here

How to prevent sun sensitivity2

  • Check Your Meds: Check prescription medications to see if sun sensitivity is listed as a side effect.
  • Hydrate: Drink plenty of water!
  • Cover Up: Use sunscreen, wear protective clothing or try to stay in the shade as much as you can!

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/beware-of-sunburn-boosters#1
  2. https://www.consumerreports.org/drugs/can-your-meds-make-you-more-sensitive-to-sun-and-heat/
  3. https://www.medicinenet.com/sun-sensitive_drugs_photosensitivity_to_drugs/article.htm#list_of_examples_of_medications_that_cause_phototoxicitcy