National Drug Take Back Day is 10/24

Disposing of medications safely can help protect your family from getting or using medications that are expired or out of date; prevent the illegal use of unused medications and minimize any potential negative impact on the environment.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!

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

Unfortunately, throwing out your medications at home can lead to many harmful impacts on the environment or create safety risks for trash handlers. In addition, 53% of pain relievers for misuse are given by, bought or took from a friend or relative.1 It is important to safely dispose of your medications to help minimize the impact of the opioid epidemic.

Where do I go?

Visit the DEA’s website to find a collection site: https://takebackday.dea.gov/. Here you can input your zip code and find out where the closest drop off site is located.

What You Should Know  

The DEA can ONLY accept pills or patches. The DEA CANNOT accept liquids, needles, or sharps.

This initiative addresses both public safety and health concerns. Prescription medications left to expire in people’s homes are susceptible to misuse or abuse. Prescription drug abuse rates and overdose and accidental poisoning statistics are frighteningly high in the United States. Studies show that the majority or abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, or from home medicine cabinets.

The DEA now advises against “usual methods” for disposing of unused medications. Flushing medications down the toilet or throwing them in the trash now both pose potential safety and health concerns.

 How can Tria Health Help?

As a member of Tria Health, if you have multiple medications and are afraid, you will 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

Sources:

  1. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2016/NSDUH-DetTabs-2016.pdf

How to Make the Most of Your Doctor’s Appointment

Image Source: Pexels

It can be very frustrating when you leave a doctor’s appointment and realize you forgot to mention something important. Many people feel like their appointments seem hurried and often leave confused. Being prepared for your appointment will help you get the most out of your visit. Below are tips on how to prepare before, during, and after your appointment.

Before the Appointment

  • Determine what you want to get out of the appointment. Is it a checkup? Are you wanting a new treatment plan? Make a list of all your concerns.
  • Write down questions you might have. Include any specific questions you may want to ask. By writing them down, you can make sure that you will not forget to ask something.
  • Fill out any forms. If you are going to a new doctor’s office, you might have forms you will need to fill out. Download or get a copy of the forms before your appointment to take away the stress of having to fill them out once you arrive.
  • Log relevant information. Prior to the appointment record information such as weight fluctuations, headaches, or how well you have been sleeping.
  • List all medications and supplements you are taking. Write down the name of the medication, brand if possible, and the dosage. Also, list what each medication is used for. This will ensure that you and your doctor are on the same page.
  • Have your medical information available. Come with detailed information of your own health, and that of your family members.
  • Describe your symptoms. The doctor will ask you to list any symptoms that you may have. Think about discussing when the issue started, where it is located, how often it occurs, and whether you have consulted with another medical practitioner before about this.

During the Appointment

  • Take notes. You can look back on them later in case you forget something.
  • Ask for a copy of any lab test results or medical records.
  • Understand the answers to three questions:
    1. What is my main problem?
    2. What do I need to do? Know exactly what actions to take to fix the issue. Should you make a lifestyle change, get a test done, or take different medication?
    3. Why is it important for me to do this? If you do not completely understand why an action is needed, you may be less likely to do it. Furthermore, if you are worried about whether you can afford a certain medication or test, do not be embarrassed to let your doctor know. They can potentially help you find something else to try.

After the Appointment

  • Know the timeline. If you get a test done, know how long it should take to get your results. Additionally, if you get a referral know how long you should wait to hear about an appointment.
  • Have a plan to document everything you have learned from the visit.
  • Create new goals based off the information the doctor gave you. Mobile applications are out there to help you take a new medication, drink more water, and reach other health goals.

Tria can help

If you are still feeling confused after your doctor’s appointment do not worry! For any questions you might have regarding your medication, Tria can help. Tria Health is a no cost benefit available through select members’ health plans. Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate Program offers one-on-one, private consultations with a Tria Health Pharmacist. During your consultation, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins and supplements. Tria Health will assist you in identifying any possible drug interactions or savings opportunities! Your pharmacist will work with you and your doctor(s) to ensure the intended outcomes from your medications are being received.

Call the Tria Help Desk with any questions at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/lynda-shrager-the-organized-caregiver/ways-get-most-out-of-doctors-visits/
  2. https://globalnews.ca/news/4088270/doctors-appointment-advice/#:~:text=How%20to%20make%20the%20most%20of%20your%20doctor%E2%80%99s,address%20the%20…%203%20After%20the%20visit.%20
  3. https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/how-make-the-most-your-doctors-appointment.html

Recommendations for Goal Setting

It is easy to feel stuck in life by knowing what you want to achieve but not knowing how to get there. Setting goals can feel like an overwhelming task. Without them however, you will lack focus and direction. Goal setting lets you determine your own success and plan for the future. Follow the steps below to accomplish your goals.

What is Goal Setting?

Have you ever wondered why you can not stick to your New Year’s Resolution? The answer is simple, resolutions are passive. The intention is there, but there is not any plan to make you follow through. Goal setting is active and can be defined as the process of deciding what to accomplish, then planning.

Steps to Achieving Your Goals

  1. Set goals that motivate you. These goals should be ones that are of interest to you. If they are a high priority to you, then you will be motivated to achieve them. Write down why the goal is valuable to enforce commitment and urgency.
  2. Set SMART goals. For a goal to be effective it must be SMART. SMART stands for:
    • Specific
      • Ambiguity is not desired when defining a goal. Make goals precise to provide direction.
    • Measurable
      • Always quantify goals to aid in measuring success. For example, if your goal is to save money how will you know if you have been successful? How much money are you trying to save? Is it hundreds or thousands of dollars? Quantifying a goal will make it more impactful.
    • Attainable
      • Remember that goals can be unattainable. If you strive to accomplish something unattainable you will only feel discouraged and unempowered. Consider your limitations but do not let them define you. Furthermore, do not set goals that are to simple to complete, you will only get bored as there is not much achievement in it.
    • Relevant
      • Set goals that benefit you. Evaluate why a goal is important. Once you identify the key benefit, incorporate it into the actual big picture goal.
    • Time Bound
      • Have a deadline to help eliminate any procrastination. This is also an important part of measuring success.
  3. Write your goals down. Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, conducted a study that concluded you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down regularly.
  4. Create regular check-ins. Goal setting is ongoing. Check on your progress from time to time to make sure you are still on the right track. You can use different tools such as an online calendar, planner, or smartphone to check your progress.
  5. Celebrate wins. Even if small, it is important to acknowledge that you are moving in the right direction.

Ultimately, you have the power to make your goals happen. By following the steps listed above, you can define your success and achieve your goals.

Sources:

  1. https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_90.htm
  2. https://www.atlassian.com/blog/productivity/how-to-write-smart-goals
  3. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/accomplishing-goals-resolutions-1919182
  4. https://www.thebalancesmb.com/goal-setting-your-guide-to-setting-goals-2948131

Recall of Metformin Hydrochloride ER Tablets

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.

Metformin HCl Extended Release Tablets, USP, 500 mg

Metformin HCl Extended Release Tablets, USP, 750 mg

*Amneal’s Metformin Hydrochloride Immediate Release Tablets, USP are not affected by this recall.1

Metformin HCI Extended Release Tablets manufactured by Bayshore Pharmaceuticals, LLC are also being recalled.

Metformin Hydrochloride Extended-Release Tablets USP, 500 mg and 750 mg lots subject to the recall are identified in the table below.

Metformin Hydrochloride Extended-Release Tablets manufactured by Marksans Pharma Limited, are being recalled due to the detection of N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) impurity.

Time-Cap Labs Inc. Metformin Hydrochloride for Extended-Release Tablets, USP 500 mg and 700 mg lots subject to the recall are identified below.

Metformin Hydrochloride Extended-Release Tablets, USP 500mg:

90 counts: 49483-623-09

100 counts: 49483-623-01

500 counts: 49483-623-50

1000 counts: 49483-623-10

Metformin Hydrochloride Extended-Release Tablets, USP 750mg:

100 counts: 49483-624-01

What’s next?

  • 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.

Sources:

  1. https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/amneal-pharmaceuticals-llc-issues-voluntary-nationwide-recall-metformin-hydrochloride-extended#recall-announcement
  2. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-alerts-patients-and-health-care-professionals-nitrosamine-impurity-findings-certain-metformin
  3. https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/bayshore-pharmaceuticals-llc-issues-voluntary-nationwide-recall-metformin-hydrochloride-extended
  4. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/health-care/article245133825.html

October is National Pharmacists Month

National Pharmacist Month is here! As experts in medications, pharmacists provide important guidance to patients and physicians to promote safe, effective, and affordable medication use. Tria Health believes pharmacists are an integral part of every patient’s health care team. This month we’d like to take a moment to celebrate our talented pharmacy team!

What is National Pharmacist Month?

National Pharmacist Month takes place every October. During the month, pharmacists are honored throughout the country. 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.

Know Your Pharmacist, Know Your Medicine

For the whole month, the slogan “Know Your Pharmacist, Know Your Medicine,” is encouraged to the community. Pharmacists provide important information on medication regimens. A patient cannot know about the medication they take without first knowing their pharmacist. This slogan is a reminder for patients to interact with their pharmacist to learn more about the medicine they take.

Important questions to ask when getting to know your pharmacist:

  • What is this medication used for?
  • How should I use this medication?
  • What should I do if I miss a dose?
  • When will the medicine begin to work?
  • How will I know if the medicine is working?
  • What side effects should I watch for?
  • Is there anything I should avoid while taking this medication?
  • How should I store this medication?

How Can Pharmacists Help You?

Pharmacists can support your health by:

  • 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.
  • Verifying your physician’s medication instructions.
  • 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?Pharmacists can provide guidance on all vaccine-preventable diseases and which immunizations are best for you.
  • Advising you on general health topics.
  • Increasing medication adherence. When you are medication adherent and compliant, you save money, healthcare resources, and have better health outcomes. Pharmacists can help you maintain medication adherence by regularly checking in on you to see how you are doing. It is difficult to manage multiple medications, so it is great to have pharmacists there to help. To learn more about the importance of medication adherence check out: https://triahealthblog.com/2020/10/05/the-benefits-of-medication-reminders-for-non-adherent-and-non-compliant-patients/

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

Sources:

  1. http://67.222.18.91/~aphm/pharmacists-can-help/
  2. https://www.pharmacist.com/know-your-pharmacist-know-your-medicine#:~:text=The%20updated%20slogan%E2%80%94%22Know%20Your%20Pharmacist%2C%20Know%20Your%20Medicine%22%E2%80%94reflects,know%20their%20medicine%20without%20first%20knowing%20their%20pharmacist.
  3. https://caringpeopleinc.com/blog/american-pharmacists-month/#:~:text=National%20Pharmacist%E2%80%99s%20Month%20celebrates%20the%20accomplishments%20of%20pharmacists,to%20promote%20awareness%20and%20education%20on%20pharmacists%E2%80%99%20care.
  4. https://www.nclnet.org/know_your_medicine_know_your_pharmacist
  5. https://www.pharmacist.com/press-release/october-american-pharmacists-month