Tria Health: February Ask a Pharmacist Edition

Pharmacist surrounded by pills with text that reads Ask a Pharmacist
Image Source: iStock.com/macrovector

Tria Health would like to thank our followers for such positive feedback from our last “Ask a Pharmacist Edition.” Since then, we have seen even more questions coming through to our Help Desk. To better serve our audience, clients and patients, we will continue answering some of our most Frequently Asked Questions.

Because it’s cold and flu season, this month we’re going to focus on the questions that will help you get through these next few months.

Question: What basic items should be stored in a well-stocked medicine cabinet?

Answer: Here are a few essentials to stock your medicine cabinet to treat common problems.

  • Pain relievers
    • Tylenol, Advil, or Aleve.  Remember the generic versions work just as well and will save you money.   If you have children in the home be sure to have children’s formulations as well, ask your pharmacist if you need help calculating the right dose for the little ones.
  • Over the counter medications for minor stomach ailments
    • Products like Pepto-Bismol can treat a variety of minor stomach symptoms. Medications like Tums or Rolaids can help with periodic heartburn symptoms. Mild laxatives, such as Colace or Senna, can help with constipation.
  • Cold, Flu and Allergy Relief
    • Antihistamines and cough suppressants are good to have on hand for common cold and flu symptoms. To make sure that you are targeting the right symptom with the right medication consult your pharmacist. Some common brands we recommend include Claritin, Zyrtec or Allegra.
  • First Aid Kit
    • It’s always important to be able to treat household injuries, be sure to have Band-Aids and Neosporin available for cuts and abrasions.

Please don’t forget the importance of checking expiration dates on over-the-counter medications. Expired medications can lose their effectiveness. Additionally, remember the importance of properly disposing any expired medications.

Question: Why don’t I need antibiotics when I have a cold?

Answer: The common cold is almost always caused by viruses, not bacteria. Viruses do not respond to antibiotics and they typically run their course after a few days. Your best course of action is symptom management, pushing fluids, and rest—these are key to combating a virus. Additionally, over-use of antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance which makes true bacterial infections harder to treat.

Question: Is it true that you can alternate Tylenol and Ibuprofen for fevers?

Answer: That is true. If you are combatting a high fever, alternating doses of Tylenol and ibuprofen every 2-3 hours is an effective way to keep the fever down. Always talk with a healthcare professional to ensure you are using the proper doses at the proper interval.

Question: Why do I have to take all my antibiotics if I feel better after a few days?

Answer: The symptoms associated with a bacterial infection will almost always resolve even before the bacteria is completely out of your system. While you may feel significantly better after only a few doses of an antibiotic, it is crucial to complete the full course of treatment. If the bacteria is not completely eliminated it can return and develop resistance to antibiotics which will make it harder to treat the second time around.

Do YOU have a question for our pharmacists?

 If so, please comment below or call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742, and we’ll gladly answer in next month’s “Ask A Pharmacist Edition.” 

Tria Health: Ask A Pharmacist Edition

Pharmacist surrounded by pills with text that reads Ask a Pharmacist
Image Source: iStock.com/macrovector

The Tria Health Pharmacists love their careers and the work that they do! They have a unique opportunity to counsel patients about their medical conditions, prescription medications, , over-the-counter medications and supplements, as well as their lifestyle, which all play an important role in managing health. This service is called Chronic Condition Management (CCM).

The CCM Difference that Tria Health offers is more comprehensive than medication management or disease management solutions. It is a patient-centered solution that values individual uniqueness and focuses on increasing engagement; improving health outcomes and delivering a return on investment!

Because medication plays an important role in chronic condition management, Pharmacists are key to improving health outcomes and, in many cases, saving patients money!

Tria Health also offers a patient help desk, so patients may ask pharmacists any medication-related questions.

To highlight our fabulous clinical team, we thought we’d take this public and share with you some frequently asked questions and the pharmacists’ answers!

FAQ

Question: When is the best time to take my medicine?

Answer:

Some medications do have a specific time that is “best” to be most efficacious. For example, a cholesterol lowering medications, such as a “statins”, are best taken at bedtime due to much of the body’s cholesterol synthesis occurring in the evening. Therefore, taking statins at bedtime has the most cholesterol lowering effect. Another example, thyroid medications are best taken on an empty stomach separated from other medications and foods by 30-60 minutes to be best absorbed. Thyroid medications will bind or adhere to other foods and medications which would therefore decrease the absorption. As wonderful as efficacy is, the most important thing is to be as consistent as possible when taking your medications. Consistently taking your medications means taking them the same time each day, with or without food. Our lives can be hectic, between work, kids, volunteering, THE HOLIDAYS, etc. and sometimes remembering to take your medication AT ALL each day, let alone with the most “efficacious” measures, can be a challenge. Medication doses will be adjusted based on your regular and most updated lab work. So, the bottom line is, consistency is key!

Question: What can I take for my cough?  It is keeping me up all night. 

Answer:

If cough is productive increase humidity in the bedroom and try to increase fluids.  Delsym or Robitussin 12-hr Cough are both great options at night to suppress cough. They contain dextromethorphan only so you are not getting a bunch of other ingredients that aren’t needed.  Try NOT to suppress a productive cough during the day.  Mucinex during the day can help thin mucus and allow for easier clearing of congestion.

Question:  My supplements are all-natural, so they should be totally safe, right?

Answer:

Not all supplements are safe for all people even though they might be “all-natural”.  Certain supplements or vitamins can increase risk of bleeding or cause interactions with other medications and lead to serious side effects.  It is always a good idea to check with a pharmacist or doctor before starting any vitamins or supplements to ensure they are safe.

Tria Health offers solutions to improve cost and care for patients, employers & their broker partners.

 Do you have a question for a pharmacist? Comment below and they will happily answer!