Migraines can be a Costly Chronic Condition

Girl facing away holding hands to head
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Migraine is a debilitating condition that affects over 37 million Americans and their families.1 Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. households includes someone who suffers from migraines. While most sufferers experience attacks one or twice a month, more than 4 million people have chronic daily migraine, with at least 15 migraine days per month.2 Healthcare and lost productivity costs associated with migraines are estimated to be as high as $36 billion annually in the U.S. Unfortunately, people who experience migraines typically remain quiet about their disease which leads to the misconception that only a few people suffer from the condition.

What are Migraine Symptoms?3

Per the Mayo Clinic, migraines may progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, headache and post-drome, all of which result in different symptoms. Click here to find a list of symptoms for each migraine stage. Migraines are often undiagnosed and untreated. If you regularly experience signs and symptoms of migraine attacks, keep a record of your attacks and how you treated them. Then make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your headaches.

Migraine Misconceptions

Migraines remain a misunderstood disease that is often undiagnosed and undertreated. Many people who have migraines suffer from the stigma surrounding the disease which can often lead them to further isolation. Most people don’t realize how debilitating the disease can be, more than 90% of sufferers are unable to work or function normally during their migraine.

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. We’re happy to announce we are now providing services to members who suffer from migraines.

Have any questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742

 

Sources:

  1. https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/understanding-migraine/migraine-self-advocacy/
  2. http://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20360201

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.” 

New Year, New You?

It’s the time of year for New Year’s resolutions—or, more accurately, the time that most people have given up on those resolutions. You know the kind of resolutions we mean: “I’ll exercise more”, “I’ll start eating better and watch my portion sizes”, “I’ll quit smoking”. To ditch the resolutions by mid-January is par for the course. We understand, change is hard. However, your friends at Tria Health want to help you take back control of your resolutions and your health—and deliver the why behind it.

These lifestyle changes like losing weight, eating well-balanced nutritional meals and exercising can prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. In fact, these lifestyle changes are part of the recommendations our pharmacists are making to our patients through our Pharmacy Advocate Program.

Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate program helps people with Chronic Conditions

In addition to lifestyle changes, most chronic conditions require medication to effectively treat and manage. Tria Health’s pharmacists make sure patients are receiving the best benefits from their medications. They work with patients and their physicians to identify, prevent and resolve drug therapy problem’s related to a patient’s medications.

Tria Health’s pharmacists provide one-on-one telephonic counseling for members to discuss how lifestyle and medication impact chronic conditions. They provide valuable, clinically based information on how to improve your health. And, they will coordinate any recommendations with the members’ physician and/or pharmacy.

You Have the Power to Prevent Chronic Disease  

The CDC reports that, “chronic diseases and conditions—such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis—are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems.” This year, and always, we encourage you to resolve to live a healthy lifestyle. These lifestyle changes will help you feel better today—and for many tomorrow’s:

  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight.
  • Eat a nutritious diet of whole foods.
  • Watch your portion sizes.
  • Be active.
  • Quit smoking (and other tobacco products).
  • Limit your alcohol use.

Change IS hard, but if you consider the possibility of preventing chronic disease, it’s an easy decision to attempt to make these lifestyle changes. Your friends at Tria Health hope you will resolve to commit to living a healthy lifestyle to prevent chronic conditions.

 

For more information on CCM, please visit our website at www.triahealth.com or call our help desk at 1.888.799.8742

 

 

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! 

 

 

Are you or your loved ones at risk of harmful drug interactions?

Close up of assorted pills and prescriptions
Image Source: iStock.com/klenova

An average Tria Health patient takes 8 prescription medications. Most older Americans take multiple medications each day for a variety of conditions. Typically, when people have multiple chronic conditions, they see multiple prescribing physicians.

Do you think those prescribing physicians talk to one another?

In many cases, the answer is, unfortunately, no.

A new study, called “Improving Health and the Bottom Line: The Case for Health Literacy,” showed how greater health literacy can improve community health, reduce health costs, enhance the quality of care and improve patient and provider experiences.  The lead author of the report, Stan Hudson, said “the relationship between health literacy and health outcomes is very important. We found that low health literacy is a contributing factor for readmission for chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Hudson also made a point that “health literacy helps ensure the best quality of care for everyone.”

The CDC reports that about half of the adults in the United States have inadequate skills when it comes to understanding their health care options.

In another study, National Poll on Healthy Aging found that 1 in 3 who take at least one prescription drug had talked to a health care professional about possible drug interactions. Among those taking six or more medications, less than half had discussed possible drug interactions.

Drug interactions could, best case scenario, prevent medicine from absorbing properly. Worst case scenarios put people at risk of blood sugar issues, kidney damage or even death. Due to the variety of prescription and over-the-counter drugs available, even medical professionals are challenged with identifying potential drug interactions.

Additionally, 1 in 5 respondents said they had used more than one pharmacy in the past two years (including mail order pharmacies), and 3 in 5 see more than one doctor for their care. While 63% of the respondents said their doctor and pharmacists are responsible for identifying potential drug interactions, only 36% said their pharmacist definitely knew about all their medications when they fill a prescription.

Knowledge is Power

This is our focus and expertise at Tria Health. Our team works diligently to improve health literacy among our patients. We have found that identifying drug therapy problems, drug interactions and discovering non-adherence issues are only possible by physically speaking with patients. We empower our patients by educating them on all their chronic conditions, their medications and we make recommendations to prescribing physicians to avoid harmful drug interactions and drug therapy problems. This educational approach has proven to reduce hospital readmissions and improve clinical outcomes for chronic conditions. This helps our patients live healthier lives and helps their employers save on their healthcare costs.

Tria Health encourages you to be an advocate for your own healthcare and take the time to learn more about all your prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Knowledge is power.