Ask a Pharmacist

Pharmacist surrounded by pills with text that reads Ask a Pharmacist
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Thanks to the Tria Health Help Desk, patients may ask pharmacists any medication-related questions. We’d like to share with you some frequently asked questions and the pharmacists’ answers

Question: Is it OK to take leftover antibiotics to treat a current infection?

Answer: No! The antibiotic might not treat the type infection that you have and might not be the full course of therapy required. Additionally, taking antibiotics inappropriately may also cause antibiotic resistance, making it harder to treat future infections.

Question: How do I know what kind of vitamins I should take?

Answer: It would depend on your diet, lifestyle, and other medical conditions. Taking a multivitamin is a great place to start. If you have concerns about being vitamin deficient, talk with your doctor about checking certain vitamin levels.

Question: Which over-the-counter allergy products are safe to use during pregnancy?

Answer: Both Zyrtec and Claritin are safe to use during pregnancy. Make sure these products do not carry any other active ingredients, like pseudoephedrine. Talk with your doctor or your Tria pharmacist before starting any over the counter allergy product.

Question: I recently started a new medication and have had a stomach ache ever since. Am I allergic to the drug?

Answer: Stomach aches are not a sign or symptom of a medication allergy. It is usually a side effect of the drug. Try to take the medication with food to help avoid stomach upset.

 

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Preventing Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria are capable of resisting the effects of
antibiotics. This can occur for many reasons for example, taking antibiotics when you do not have an infection caused by bacteria or not taking antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor.

Many common infections like the common cold, most sore throats and the flu are actually caused by viruses. Antibiotics are only effective against infections caused by bacteria and cannot kill viruses. Overuse and overprescribing of antibiotics has markedly increased bacterial resistance in recent years. We all normally have bacteria that live on and in our bodies. The more antibiotics we take the more likely these bacteria are to become resistant to antibiotics and potentially cause infection.

Some common signs that you may have an infection caused by bacteria and you should contact your physician include:

  • Fever higher than 100 °F
  • Symptoms that last more than 7-10 days
  • Symptoms that are not relived by over the counter medications

What can you do to prevent antibiotic resistance?

  • If prescribed antibiotics make sure to take the full course of antibiotics and follow the prescription directions
  • Don’t always assume that an antibiotic will be the answer to your cold and flu symptoms

(Written by Tria Health Pharmacy Student Intern Jessica McClain, UMKC School of Pharmacy)