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?
Antiarrhythmics (cardiac drugs)
Diuretics (used to treat hypertension, heart
failure or edema)
It’s time for some fun in the sun, vacation season
is here! While relaxing on the beach sounds like a great way to spend a week,
getting there can be stressful especially if you have a chronic condition. It’s
hard to keep all the airport regulations straight, and we know you want to get
through as fast as possible. Here are some helpful tips to get your medications
packed and ready to go for your well-deserved vacation!
Make sure to check your medication supply in
advance. It’s important to give yourself and your pharmacy enough time to
refill your medication if you’re running low. If you’re taking a long trip, and
your insurance provider will not issue extra doses to you, talk to your
physician. Your doctor should be able to work with your insurance company and
pharmacy to get you the extra medications you need. If you take any
over-the-counter medications, be sure you have enough of them on hand, too.1
Schedule your Dosing
Time changes can impact when you need to take your
medications. You can always talk with your doctor or your pharmacist to create
a dosage schedule. It can also help to set an alarm on your phone to help you
keep track of your dosage times and wake up during the night.
TSA does not require passengers to have
medications in prescription bottles, but states have individual laws regarding
the labeling of prescription medication with which passengers need to comply.
You can bring your medication in pill or solid
form in unlimited amounts as long as it is screened.
Medication in liquid form is allowed in carry-on
bags in excess of 3.4 ounces in reasonable quantities for the flight. It is not
necessary to place medically required liquids in a zip-top bag. However, you
must tell the officer that you have medically necessary liquids at the start of
the screening checkpoint process. Medically required liquids will be subject to
additional screening that could include being asked to open the container.
You can travel with your medication in both
carry-on and checked baggage. It’s highly recommended you place these items in
your carry-on in the event that you need immediate access.
Tria Health is Here to Help
Have any questions regarding your medications and
traveling? If Tria Health is offered through your benefits plan, 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 can answer
any of your medication-related questions.
It’s important to review your current medication
regimen on a yearly basis with a clinician. Older adults are taking a multitude
of pills, with 66 percent taking five or more and 27 percent taking 10 or more.1
Some of these medications may not even be necessary anymore. While most people
rely on their primary physician, “physicians often don’t have enough
information about what patients are taking, or may lack the time to talk to
patients about these medications.”1 So who can patients talk to
about their medications? Pharmacists.
One in Five Older Adults are on an Inappropriate Medication
While medications can be extremely beneficial in
managing chronic conditions, taking multiple medications at once can create
some risk. About one-third of adverse events in hospitalizations include a
drug-related harm, leading to longer hospital stays and greater expense. The
National Academy of Medicine estimated that there are 400,000 preventable
adverse drug events in hospitals each year, costing $3.5 billion. At least one in five older patients are on an inappropriate
medication — one that they can do without or that can be switched to a
different, safer drug.2
Improves Overall Care
Pharmacists do so much more than just dispense
prescriptions. They have a wealth of knowledge to assist patients with safe
medication use, potential drug interactions as well as preventative services
and over the counter medications. There have been a multitude of studies
conducted over the years measuring patient improvement when a pharmacist is
included as part of the care team working with the physician. In a recent
in JAMA, patients were randomly assigned to two groups. With one group,
pharmacists gave both patients and their physicians educational materials on
the specific drug that might have been inappropriately prescribed. The control
group got the usual care, with no educational materials. Within six months, 43
percent of the patients in the intervention group had stopped taking one of the
selected medicines. The corresponding figure was 12 percent in the control group.
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
July is Herbal/Prescription Interaction Awareness
Month. A common misconception with herbal supplements is that because they are “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 drug interactions when taken with certain medications.
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.
How Herbs Can Interact with Medicines?2
Unfortunately, for many medicines and supplements
there’s currently little information on possible interactions, and more
research is needed. Some supplements can decrease the effects of medicines,
while others can increase the effects, including unwanted side effects, of
medicines. Here are a few examples of well-known drug interactions:
St. John’s Wort: St. John’s wort
interacts with a large number of medications, including antidepressants,
allergy drugs, birth control, and warfarin. In most cases, St. John’s wort
decreases the effectiveness of the medication; in other cases, however, St.
John’s wort may increase the effects of a medication.3
Garlic Extract: Concentrated garlic
extracts can thin the blood in a manner similar to aspirin, which may be a
problem during or after surgery.
Green Tea Supplements: Concentrated green
tea supplements can interact with pseudoephedrine (a decongestant).
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
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.
Tria Health can help
If Tria Health is offered through your benefits
plan, 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 and
supplements. Tria Health will assist you in identifying any possible drug
interactions or savings opportunities!
June is National Migraine & Headache Awareness
Month. The goal of this month is to raise awareness, address the stigma and
build a stronger community of advocates. Migraine disease is one of the 20 most
disabling medical illnesses in the world and the 12th most disabling disorder
in the United States. More than 90% of migraine suffers can’t function normally
during an attack.1
Migraine is a genetic neurological disease,
characterized by episodes often called Migraine attacks. They are quite different
from regular headaches which are non-migrainous. Migraine sufferers may have
moderate or severe pain and usually can’t participate in normal activities
because of the pain. Many people experience migraines lasting for at least four
hours or may last for days. The diagnosis usually happens if people have a
combination of symptoms and doctors have ruled out other disorders.2
Build a Support Network
Migraine is a disabling disease that no one should
have to go through alone. It’s essential to build a support network of
understanding people who can not only check in on you during an attack but also
empathize with your experience. While there are a multitude of online support
groups, talk with your friends and family about your experience. They are an invaluable
resource to help you get through migraine attacks.3
Tria Health and Migraines
Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate Program offers
one-on-one, private consultations with a Tria Health Pharmacist. Your
pharmacist will work with you and your doctor(s) to ensure you’re getting the
intended outcomes from your medications. Over the years, Tria Health has
continued to expand our services to include a multitude of chronic conditions,