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Boggio Family of Pharmacies

Boggios: A healthy choice for your whole life

Monthly Archives: April 2013

As a result of new regulations governing the practice of pharmacy in Ontario, pharmacists are now able to be more deeply involved in your medications and management of your medical conditions. The new regulations came into effect last October allowing pharmacists to make use of their unique knowledge. This is great news for both pharmacists and you, their patients. It will allow pharmacists to be an even more integral part of your medication management and it will provide you with greater convenience as pharmacists are easily accessible in the community.

There are five main areas that these changes will affect:

  1. Pharmacists can prescribe several effective medications to help you quit smoking. Patients who may wish to try this method of quitting can now be assessed by their pharmacist – who will use their professional judgement to decide if it is right for you. This means that you will not have to wait to see your doctor in order to get on the path to becoming smoke-free and the pharmacist can be involved throughout this sometimes difficult process.
  1. Pharmacists may be able to renew your prescriptions without you having to see your doctor first. Your condition and your medications must be stable. For example, this may apply to patients who have well-managed chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. (This new regulation does not apply to narcotics and similar substances and does not eliminate the need to see your doctor for proper followup and monitoring).
  2. Pharmacists may also make certain changes/ adaptations to your doctor’s prescription if necessary based on professional judgement. For example, they may change the dosage form (tablet/capsule/liquid) or they could alter the dosing regimen and possibly even the dose to suit you better. As always, any changes would be done with your consent and the pharmacist would share them with your doctor.
  1. Pharmacists can now be of even greater assistance in helping to demonstrate how to use your devices. If you are a patient who uses an inhaler or has self-administered injections, your pharmacist can now use the real device to show you how to use it, rather than using a model one. Pharmacists who are able to administer injections in order to teach you how to use them have completed a training program.
  1. Specially trained pharmacists can administer the flu vaccine to patients five years and older. This will provide patients with more locations and greater ease of access to the vaccine.

As usual, your pharmacist will make these decisions based on your specific situation, so it is very important to give them as much information about yourself as you can. They need to know about all of the medications you are taking, including anything over-the-counter or any vitamins/minerals that you use. Also it is important to talk to your pharmacist about your lifestyle (eg. the foods you eat and the exercise you do) so they can get the full picture in order to make the best decisions for you

Pharmacists have always been a wonderful source of information and support for patients regarding how to best manage their medicines and their medical conditions. Now that the role of pharmacists has expanded to allow them to have more involvement with their patients, it will be easier than ever for patients to maintain good control of their conditions and medications. 

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Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox (varicella-zoster virus). After the chickenpox blisters heal, the virus remains dormant in nerve cells in your body. It can become reactivated after many years resulting in shingles. It is not known exactly why the virus becomes reactivated, however it is thought that having a weakened immune system along with physical trauma, UV light or stress may play a role. The risk of developing shingles increases with age and people over 50 years old are at the greatest risk. The symptoms include a painful, blistering rash that often breaks out in one part of the body, usually the chest or upper back are involved. Sometimes the pain resulting from shingles can last for weeks, months, or rarely years, after the rash heals. This lasting pain has been described as burning, aching, throbbing or stabbing and can result from something as little as a breeze or the touch of clothing on the skin. Older people are again at greater risk. Shingles may also result in skin infections at the site of the rash or scarring following healing of the rash.

Fortunately, a vaccine is now available to boost your immune system and help to prevent shingles and its complications. It is called Zostavax and is available to adults over 50 years old. The vaccine cannot be used if you are already experiencing symptoms of shingles; it is only used for prevention. The vaccine is given as a single dose by injection just under the skin of the upper arm by a doctor or trained nurse. As all medicines and vaccines can have side effects, some people may experience redness, pain, swelling, or bruising at the site of injection or headache. These are the most common unwanted effects, but they are usually minor. This vaccine was found to reduce the risk of developing shingles by about 50-70% (depending on your age) within the first year after receiving the vaccine.

Zostavax must be stored frozen below -15 degrees Celsius until the day it is to be used. Only a few pharmacies currently have the correct storage facilities for this vaccine to be able to stock it. Zostavax is available from all of the Boggio Family of Pharmacy locations.

Zostavax is safe for most people, however it should not be used by anyone who:

  • is allergic to zoster vaccine or to any of the ingredients of the medication (including gelatin)

  • is pregnant

  • has a weakened immune system (e.g., due to cancer, HIV/AIDS, problems with bone marrow, or other immune system problems)

  • has active untreated tuberculosis

  • has had a serious allergic reaction (hives, face swelling, difficulty breathing) to neomycin

  • takes high doses of steroids (e.g., prednisone, methylprednisolone) by injection or by mouth

Since this is a relatively new vaccine, it is not known if it will provide protection from shingles for longer than 4 years.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for more information and advice about shingles and to find out if the Zostavax vaccine is right for you.

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Spring is just around the corner. It’s a time of new life – not only for the plants and animals – but for you too! It is the perfect time of year to make a few simple changes to your daily routine in order to get your heart into great shape, so you’ll have a spring in your step for many years to come!

Our heart is like the engine of our body. Without fuel, it will not work; without maintenance and regular use, it will not function properly; and if you look after it, it will last for many years without the need for repair.
The fuel for our heart is the food we consume. Healthier food choices will result in a healthier, stronger heart.
Here are five easy ways to improve your diet:

  1. Cook with less fat – Steam, bake, broil, or grill meat, poultry or fish instead of frying.

  2. Eat more vegetables and fruit – Add them wherever you can: soups, sauces, stews. Fresh, frozen or canned are all healthy choices.

  3. Use less salt – Try to avoid adding salt when cooking and always taste your food before shaking the salt over it. Try flavouring your food with herbs, spices, garlic, or lemon juice instead.

  4. Cook with more whole grains – Use brown rice, whole wheat flour, and whole wheat pasta in recipes where you would normally use the white version. Also, instead of quick oats, use whole rolled oats as they are the healthier option.

  5. Don’t miss out on fibre – Eat the peel with the apple or the skin of a baked potato for extra fibre as long as they are washed. You could also add rinsed, canned beans to recipes for a fibre boost!

Daily physical activity is the regular use that your heart needs to continue functioning properly. According to Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines, adults 18-64 should be doing a total of at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week. Aim for about 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. Activities may include brisk walking, bike riding, dancing, or jogging. The best way to get started is to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Take the dog for a brisk walk around the block, spend a day at the park with the family on the weekend, do some gardening, or maybe join a dance class and make some new friends too!

Along with a well-balanced diet and daily physical activity, your heart needs a check-up every once in a while. Your doctor can check your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar during an appointment to see that your heart is in good working order and may make recommendations to you based on the results.

Drinking too much alcohol, smoking and high levels of stress can also have negative effects on the heart. If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to no more than two drinks a day for women or three drinks a day for men. If you are a smoker, the sooner you become smoke-free, the sooner your body will recover. Talk to your pharmacist about ways to kick the habit. Everyone experiences the feeling of being stressed at some point or another, but the key is how you handle it. It may be as simple as taking a few deep breaths for some people, while others may do daily meditation or practice yoga to remain stress-free. Taking time for yourself each day to do something you enjoy is another way of keeping your stress level to a minimum. Find a new hobby, activity or project that you might enjoy doing either on your own or with friends.

Many people will already be doing one or more of these things to look after their hearts, and that is great, but if this all seems a bit daunting, don’t worry because of course, you do not have to make all of these changes at once! Decide to make one change this month and maybe add another next month. Before long, you’ll be right on track to keeping your mind, body and heart happy and healthy.

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